Forget the classic superheroes of the past, because WASH, Nutrition, Vaccines and ORS + Zinc have come to save the day and build a brighter future. PATH’S DefeatDD fights children’s diseases with its new video that brings awareness to major health issues — including chronic diarrhea and malnutrition — and helps the children, families and communities watching learn how to conquer them. These health superheroes fight off major illnesses like rotavirus, enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), shigella and cryptosporidium.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) emphasizes the importance of efficient water and sanitation services and basic hygiene practices. Nutrition and Vaccines ensure a healthy lifestyle and keep conditions from worsening, and ORS + Zinc help to prevent diarrhea and pneumonia in children. Besides these characters, a handful of real-life superheroes are committed to saving more lives and helping children around the world to be healthy and strong.
Richard Walker of PATH and Lou Bourgeois of Johns Hopkins University are two skilled scientists working vigorously to advance vital new vaccines and add to the lineup of available resources to tackle the bacterial brutes.
Anita Zaidi and Duncan Steele lead the charitable charge at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, dedicating their time to defeating diarrhea. Together, they bridge science and strategy to rally a revolution against common childhood threats, applying medical microbiology to pediatric perspectives.
In areas where children are exposed to unsanitary living conditions and prone to infection, understanding and being aware of the problem at hand is crucial step to finding a solution. Hope Randall, digital communications officer for PATH’s DefeatDD Initiative, expressed the connection between good nutrition and strong minds in regards to children.
Without the key nutrients of a nutritious diet, the continuous loop of malnutrition and diarrhea will keep children sick, and the effects don’t just wear off when the symptoms disappear, contrary to what many may think.
Chronic diarrhea and malnutrition can stunt physical growth and impact cognitive development, keeping children and their communities from reaching their fullest potential. This is why an integrated approach to prevent and treat such diseases is necessary and the only way to effectively address the long-term damage that the vicious cycle can cause.
In an article sponsored by PATH, A. P. Dubey, head of the Department of Pediatrics at Maulana Azad Medical College in New Delhi, wrote about the importance of vaccines in support of PATH’s DefeatDD Initiative: “I advocate for immunization to save children. It is important to have greater communication around this and it is critical for the media to address this issue. In India, public awareness about immunization is still lacking. Greater awareness will help increase immunization coverage. India can succeed in eliminating vaccine-preventable diseases.”
The same conscious and determined mind-set goes for other impoverished nations as well. PATH’S DefeatDD fights children’s diseases and is just one outlet actively educating individuals on how to treat and, more importantly, prevent major health issues.
– Mikaela Frigillana