Zinc Case Study

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The awareness of the inclusion of zinc in the management of childhood diarrhea among health care providers has been reported to be high in some developing countries. The use of zinc to treat diarrhea has the potential to avert up to an estimated 400,000 deaths annually and has been recommended for treatment of children with diarrhea in developing countries by UNICEF and WHO. A major concern is that ORT does not affect morbidity. Zinc has been found to reduce the duration and severity of diarrhea episodes and to lower incidence for the next two to three months [10].
WHO identified a number of management practices and these are breast feeding, Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) and weaning practices. The basic problems here are mothers may discontinue giving zinc prematurely as it needs to be given for 10 to 14 day to get optimum benefit, duration longer than most acute watery diarrhea episodes, which usually last only two to three days. Mothers may think that giving Zinc is sufficient and replace ORT, thereby undoing several decades of ORT promotion with subsequent consequences on child
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Children at risk of dying every year due to zinc deficiency are about 450,000. Mild-to-moderate zinc deficiency may be relatively common worldwide, but the public health importance of this degree of zinc deficiency is not well defined. Zinc deficiency leaves the body incapable of fighting pneumonia and diarrhea. Child hood diarrhea especially is a key public health issue in many developing countries. Diarrhea claims the lives of approximately1.5 million children under the age of five every year– nearly one in five child deaths. The children become dehydrated, losing bodily fluids and nutrients. Infant deaths caused by Diarrhea are estimated 18%, compared to 3% by Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and one of the leading factors associated with diarrhea is zinc deficiency

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