The Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan lighting the lamp at the launch of the Nationwide “Intensified Diarrhea Control Fortnight (IDCF)”, in New Delhi on July 28, 2014.
"Our government has placed unprecedented emphasis on out of the box solutions to long-standing problems. So much has been done for so many years. What we now need are ideas which defy the trodden path and call for courageous action," the health minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan said.
The fact that India's health administrators failed to spread mass awareness on diarrhoea management speaks volumes of the inefficiency of previous programs, the minister stated. It is therefore time to think up novel communication vehicles, he added. Diarrhoea kills more than 200,000 children annually, the third biggest cause of child mortality.
The minister said, "We don't have forever to bring down the death rate. By September 2015 we have to meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. I have therefore called for large scaling pooling of synergies to challenge the scourge of child deaths."
Outlining the rationale of IDCF, the minister said it would mobilize health personnel at both central and state levels and from the volunteer sector to give momentum to diarrhoea control measures. It is essentially a set of activities which include enhancing advocacy, step up awareness generation, establish more ORS-Zinc corners, enthuse ASHA volunteers to reach Oral Rehydration Solution packets to families with children as well as detect children in need of treatment.
The minister appealed to mothers not to stop breast feeding children under six months with diarrhoea symptoms. This is covered under IDCF's program for spreading knowledge of best practices on infant and child feeding.