The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has expressed a strong belief that providing access to known health interventions will go a long way toward saving lives, specifically the lives of children.

Because global health has been such a priority over the last 25 years, preventable child deaths have been reduced to half since 1990. That still leaves many children dying from diseases that are entirely preventable. One of the leading causes of death in children in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia is diarrheal disease.

Diarrheal disease causes a child to lose enormous amounts of fluids which then causes them to become extremely dehydrated. This disease can have a long-term effect on a child’s overall health and development.

Fortunately, there is a low-cost solution that will help to re-hydrate children who have lost a dangerous amount of fluids quickly and effectively. The Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is a simple, yet highly effective sugar and salt mixture. There are many benefits to this relatively new solution, which include:

  1. Helping to combat other diseases that cause dehydration such as Cholera and Ebola.
  2. It can cost as little as 10 cents a packet (Although it is most often given out for free in developing and/or impoverished countries).
  3. Not only hydrates but provides the body with natural, essential salts.
  4. ORS was first introduced in 1979 and has a proven, growing track record.
  5. Easy to administer; parents with limited instructions can do it themselves.
  6. ORS is improved upon not just by one country but many, which expedites its improvement as well as allowing countries to personalize their solution, tailoring it to their specific needs.

Unfortunately, this life-saving solution is not being used in many countries that could benefit from it. The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation is dedicated to making sure preventative treatments such as ORS are available where they are needed most.

Drusilla Gibbs

Sources: Impatient Optimists, Rehydrate, WHO
Photo: defeatdd

Maternal Mortality Drops; MDGs Still IncompleteIn 1990, complications during childbirth claimed the lives of more than 1,487 women a day in the 75 countries where women were most at risk for birth-related deaths. This number, which totals 543,000 per year, was reduced to 287,000 in 2010. A decline this steep (52%) aligns with the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the U.N. in 2000.

Countdown to 2015, an organization, which tracks coverage levels for health interventions aimed at reducing maternal mortality, child mortality, and newborn mortality, has collected statistics recording this decline since the 1990s. However, the steepest decline in mortality occurred after 2000 once the Millennium Development Goals were set in place. The Millennium Development Goal that specifically targets this problem is MDG 5.

The results of MDG 5 are a little behind schedule. The U.N. outlined a decline of two-thirds by 2015 and currently, the drop has only reached 47% worldwide. However, the total number of lives saved has been extremely high.

While it is easy to criticize the efforts of the Millennium Development Goals as being ineffective in reaching their target percentage, the general amount of good being done by the development goals is still very high. This type of progress oftentimes has a ripple effect which is very difficult to measure by surveys and statistics alone.

– Pete Grapentien

Photo Source Flickr