Self-Care for New Moms and Kids Under Five: Stop Diarrhoea Campaign – An Initiative by Reckitt and the Government of India


National: Reckitt, world’s leading consumer health and hygiene company, under its Self Care for New Moms and Kids Under 5 initiative, is proud to align with Ministry of Health and Family Welfare’s ‘Stop Diarrhoea Campaign’. Launched by Hon’ble Shri J.P. Nadda, Union Minister, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India, the campaign aims to attain zero child deaths due to diarrhoea in India.

In many States, diarrhoeal illnesses in childhood remains a leading cause of death for children under the age of five years, accounting for 5.8 per cent of all under-five fatalities nationwide (Cause of Death Statistics 2017-19, Sample Registration System of Registrar General of India). Every year, diarrhoea causes about 50,000 deaths in children in the nation. According to NFHS 5, the prevalence of diarrhoea in children under five is 7.3 per cent; while only 60.6 per cent received ORS and 30.5 per cent received zinc. In 68.9 per cent of cases, a medical facility or provider was consulted.

To address this issue, Reckitt in partnership with Plan India through the initiative – Self-care for new moms and kids under five, is promoting the use of ORS and Zinc while enhancing hygiene and sanitation through the six steps of handwashing for children under the age of five. The two-month campaign will concentrate on engaging and educating community members across Maharashtra, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan through highlighting the importance of handwashing, conducting ORS demonstrations, community involvement, proactive measures, and distribution of essential diarrhoea kits.

Commenting on the campaign, Gaurav Jain, Executive Vice President, Reckitt, South Asia said, “At Reckitt, we are proud to have worked closely with the Government of India towards creating a ‘Swachh and Swasth’ India across our programs. Over the last 10 years, we have engaged students, teachers, parents, and communities to improve their overall health and well-being, successfully impacting lives of millions of children across India. To further strengthen our commitment, we are delighted to align with the Stop Diarrhoea Campaign, launched by the Government of India and work towards achieving zero child deaths due to diarrhoeal illnesses. We look forward to the campaign and making progress together to build a healthier nation.”

Commenting on the campaign, Ravi Bhatnagar, Director, External Affairs and Partnerships, SOA, Reckitt said, “Diarrhoea continues to be the key cause to death of children under five years of age in many states. At Reckitt, we are committed to the holistic welfare of children, especially with poor socio-economic background. We are proud to align with the Government of India’s Stop Diarrhoea Campaign. Through this campaign, we aim to further our commitment of achieving zero child deaths caused due to diarrhoea by raising awareness about the use of ORS and Zinc and adopting proactive health measures for diarrhoea prevention. This step will further enhance our determination to build a healthier future for young children of our country.”

Mohammed Asif, Executive Director, Plan International (India Chapter), stated, “Through the convergence of our ‘Self Care for New Moms and Kids Under 5’ initiative with the ‘STOP Diarrhoea’ Campaign, we are proud to join forces with the Government to eliminate diarrhoea. We hold a shared mission to promote hygiene, raise awareness about the use of ORS and Zinc for diarrhoea prevention, and engage mothers and communities in proactive health measures. Together, we are taking significant strides towards creating a healthier tomorrow for all.”

Over the tenure of two-months of the campaign, self care for new moms and kids under five will focus on establishing advocacy and communication at district level across target states by generating awareness via capacity building sensitization sessions of frontline workers, Nukkad Natak, rallies, posters and IEC materials. To maximise the reach of the campaign and impart knowledge around diarrhoea and its causes, various activations will be introduced based on intersectoral convergence, especially to target blocks in rural areas. It involves all line departments such as WCD, Drinking Water and Sanitation, PHED, Rural Development, Panchayati Raj and Education, and development partners. The campaign brings together four-pronged approach of – ORS and zinc promotion, strengthening facilities, advocacy and communication and intersectoral convergence through members from the Indian Academy of Paediatrics (lAP), Indian Medical Association (IMA), NGOs, and CSOs to achieve the goal.

The campaign was kicked off with an inaugural event in Gir Somnath, Gujarat in collaboration with district administration., in the presence of District Collector Shri D D Jadeja, Resident Additional Collector, Rajesh Aal, Chief District Health officer Dr Arun Roy and other officials from the Health Department. District Collector, Gir Somnath, Shri D D Jadeja emphasised the importance of the campaign, recalling the Covid period and noting that while Covid has taught us about hand washing, there is still a need to focus on hygiene as a part of daily life. Similar campaigns and community events are lined up in the intervention states to support Government of India’s initiative.

During the run of the campaign, community level meetings on WHO’s 7-Point Plan for mothers will be organised, diarrhoea kits will be distributed, and key focus will be on raising awareness through utilising audio-video tools to educate the audience on diarrhoea management. These steps will further strengthen the existing interventions of the campaign and help eradicate diarrhoea from the root level.