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On November 4, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Nutrition International launched the field implementation component of the Wellbeing Africa Foundation-Nutrition International Scaling Up Zinc and LO-ORS project to combat diarrhoea in Kano and Sokoto states in Nigeria.

In partnership with the Ministries of Health in both states, Wellbeing Foundation Africa and Nutrition International will target caregivers with messages promoting prompt care-seeking for children with diarrhoea and adherence to treatment with zinc and LO-ORS.

“As the implementing partner on the Wellbeing Foundation Africa-Nutrition International Scaling Up Zinc and LO-ORS Project in Kano and Sokoto states, I am delighted that this intervention is aptly taking place at a time when diarrhoea and other water-borne diseases is threatening the livelihood of Nigerians, especially in northwestern part,” said Her Excellency Mrs. Toyin Ojora Sakari, the Founder-President of Wellbeing Foundation Africa. “We are grateful to the Ministry of Health, state primary health care development agencies and other ministries, departments and agencies within the states for their dedication and commitment to this project, and also to all the frontline health workers who are leading the charge to curb the menace of diarrhoea within northwestern Nigeria.”

The states will also receive technical and financial support to build the capacity of healthcare providers to treat diarrhoeal cases with zinc and LO-ORS and communicate with caregivers about the treatment, ensuring they can provide care for cases seen in health facilities or within the community.

“At Nutrition International, we believe scaling up zinc and LO-ORS to improve childhood diarrhoea treatment contributes to enhancing child survival,” said Dr. Titioloa Adepeju Abolade, Nutrition International Nigeria Program Director. “Diarrhoea is preventable and can be treated with zinc and LO-ORS. We are pleased to be partnering with the government and people of Sokoto and Kano states on this initiative with focus on contributing to improving prompt health seeking behaviour, capacity strengthening for health service providers and sustaining availability and access to quality zinc and LO-ORS in public health facilities in the states.”

Funded by the Government of Canada, the project has already trained nearly 200 health workers and administrators of selected primary and secondary health facilities in Kano and Sokoto states. The partners are looking to increase the number of caregivers who seek prompt care for cases of childhood diarrhoea by an additional 2,238,439 by 2023.

“It is important to train and retrain health workers on the management of childhood illnesses and the use of zinc and LO-ORS in the management of diarrhoea disease, which will enhance the capacity of the health workers,” said Dr. Otun Adewale, National Programs Lead of Wellbeing Foundation Africa.

Diarrhoea is a leading cause of malnutrition and death in children under the age of five, and malnutrition is also known to prolong episodes of diarrhoea and increase mortality.