Each year diarrhoea kills around 5,25,000 children under five around the world. According to WHO, it is the second leading cause of death in children under the age bracket. For most children in India, malnourishment, septic bacterial infections caused by water contaminated with human or animal faeces and poor personal hygiene account for an increasing proportion of diarrhoea-associated deaths.
Sadly, our country continues to contribute the most child deaths due to diarrhoeal disease globally – over 1 lakh in 2015 alone – says a new Global Burden of Disease study by Lancet. Also, India and Nigeria combined accounted for nearly 42 per cent of child deaths globally in 2015. The new report published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal also found that it is the fourth leading cause of death for children.
Even though child deaths caused by diarrhoea reduced by 34.3 per cent among children younger than 5 years between 2005-2015, mortality rates is still at a high in some of the world’s poorest countries due to poor sanitation, urgent medical care and most importantly, access to clean water. In 2015, there were 2.39 billion episodes of diarrhoeal disease globally, with 957.5 million of these being in children.
Lead author Dr Ali Mokdad, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, USA, said, “Diarrhoeal diseases disproportionately affect young children. Despite some promising reductions in mortality, the devastating impact of these diseases cannot be overlooked. Immediate and sustained actions must be taken to help low-income countries address this problem by increasing healthcare access and the use of oral rehydration solutions.”
– With inputs from PTI