Path/US Coalition for Child Survival: Call to action to end deaths from diarrhea

PATH and the US Coalition for Child Survival are coordinating an initiative to tackle diarrheal disease by inviting leaders in the fields of health, water and sanitation, development and relief, and environmental sectors to sign on to a call to action on diarrheal disease. The call to action targets donors, international policymakers, national government leaders, and the private sector to increase funding and political will to deploy proven and affordable solutions to the diarrhea problem. 

Call to Action

Over the last three decades, the global community has shown that it has the tools to dramatically reduce childhood death and illness from preventable and treatable diseases, such as diarrhea. During that time, for example, millions of children's lives have been saved by protecting them against diarrheal disease and its consequences through proven and affordable solutions.

Yet diarrheal disease still unnecessarily takes the lives of more than 4,000 children daily, despite the fact that we hold in our hands more cost-effective and proven solutions for preventing and treating diarrhea than any other childhood illness. By increased and effective allocation of resources in a portfolio of improved treatment, nutrition, and water and sanitation interventions, we can help ensure that this common disease is no longer a leading killer of children in low-income countries.

We ask our leaders to consider the burden that diarrheal disease imposes on billions around the world and within their own countries, and to recognize that our investment in deploying solutions must be commensurate with the toll that diarrhea takes. To that end, we call upon donors, international health policymakers, national leaders, and the private sector to:

  • Invest the resources to ensure that funding for diarrheal disease, including both prevention and treatment interventions, is commensurate with the scope of the burden the illness places on families and communities around the world;
  • Redouble our commitment to reducing child mortality by 2015, as stated in the WHO/UNICEF joint statement on the Millennium Development Goals, with a focus on diarrheal disease as a strategy for clear and rapid progress towards that goal;
  • Invest in the research and development of new effective, appropriate and affordable prevention and treatment options for diarrheal disease;
  • Prioritize the implementation of an appropriate combination of diarrhea interventions, including improved water, hygiene and sanitation; optimal infant and young child feeding; increased access to and uptake of vitamin A, ORS and zinc and rotavirus vaccination;
  • Include diarrhea prevention and control in international, regional and country plans on sanitation, water and hygiene. Conversely, include sanitation, water and hygiene interventions in health efforts, and commit to strengthening health systems capacity to address the environmental determinants of diarrheal disease.

For more information, visit the World Health Organization's website at

Learn more about MSH's work in water and sanitation services in Africa.

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