I was delighted recently, to present the success stories of the Wellbeing Foundation Africa – Nutrition International 2021-2022 Intervention Partnership in Sokoto State to H.E. Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal.
Zinc and low-osmolarity oral rehydration salts prevent child deaths due to diarrhoeal disease making the goal to end the loss of millions of young lives within our grasp.
That is why my Wellbeing Foundation Africa is proud to be partnered with Nutrition International in Scaling up Zinc and LO-ORS to Improve Childhood Diarrhoea treatment in Northern Nigeria, specifically in Kano State and Sokoto State. The project, funded by the Government of Canada, and in partnership with the Ministries of Health, seeks to increase timely care-seeking and treatment of diarrhoea with zinc and low-osmolarity oral rehydration salts.
Diarrhoea is a leading cause of malnutrition and death in children under the age of five, with the prevalence of childhood diarrhoea in Nigeria at 18.8%, accounting for an estimated 151,700 preventable deaths per year. Currently in Nigeria, only 26% of childhood diarrhoea cases are treated with oral rehydration salts solution, due to a lack of accessibility, availability and trust.
Through WBFA and Nutrition International increasing and sustaining availability and access to zinc and LO- ORS commodities by strengthening their Drug Revolving Fund #DRF schemes with strong governance, financial and supply chain management, and in united action with health systems strengthening, deploying dedicated midwifery and nursing workforce to reach community health care facilities and households, we are creating statewide behavioural change which deliver measurable improvements to the most vulnerable.
Our targeting of caregivers, with messages and visits from our community healthcare workers, promoting prompt care-seeking for children with diarrhoea, adherence to treatment with zinc and LO-ORS, and improvement in #sanitation and #hygiene has led the charge to curb the menace of diarrhoea.
In Sokoto, our successfully implemented first phase has increased the development and health and wellbeing across 8 Local Government Areas of the State. One of our success stories was with a year old baby girl who our Wellbeing Foundation Africa Sokoto State Project Implementation Team met at the Kofar Kade Primary Healthcare Centre as she had been stooling up to 4 times a day. Working with the in-facility staff to provide expert care, the WBFA-NI Team advised the caregiver to immediately discontinue the use of Flagyl and utilise Zinc/LO-ORS for the treatment. The WBFA-NI Team Midwife then educated the caregiver on the preparation of the Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and Salt Sugar Solution (SSS), advised her on adherence to the stipulated duration, and stressed the need for the environment where the family resides to always be kept clean in line with #WASH.
A follow-up visit by the Project Implementation Team was made to the house of the caregiver. During this visit, the team observed that the baby’s health condition had improved significantly. However, the team concluded that poor hygiene and sanitation within the household was the cause of the recurring case of diarrhoea within the family. Our midwife went on to further advise the best environment and personal hygiene practices.
Through a cohesive approach which combines the critical services and interventions needed to create healthy environments, promotes practices known to protect children from diarrhoea and ensures that every child has access to proven and appropriate preventive and treatment measures, we can facilitate Nigeria embracing and reaching the #SDG Target 3.2, Newborn and Child mortality: end preventable deaths of newborns and children under 5 years of age by 2030, and the World Health Organization informed mission to achieve universal access to clean water and basic sanitation, which are the primary preventive measures in reducing the burden of diarrhoea.
Safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene are essential for stopping preventable deaths across Nigeria, as good health and wellbeing are simply not possible without #WASH. With an integrated approach, using a combination of the cost-effective zinc and LO-ORS co-packs, safe drinking water, basic sanitation, exclusive breastfeeding, and improved nutrition, we can dramatically reduce diarrhoea in Nigeria.
My Wellbeing Foundation Africa looks forward to continuing the lifesaving and life-enhancing programming with Nutritional International for those who need it the most.