Ms. Kathryn (Kate) Mishkin, DrPH candidate at the University at Albany School of Public Health, served on an APHA policy statement team to draft a policy entitled “Promoting Leadership to Scale Up of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) with Zinc Uptake and Reduce Diarrhea Mortality Globally in Children Under 5 Years”.
This policy statement addresses the critically important global problem of child mortality. As the second leading cause of death in children under five, one child in this age group worldwide dies of diarrhea each minute. This means that approximately 525,000 children under five die yearly from diarrhea, and many of these deaths could be prevented with the use of oral rehydration salts and zinc treatments. These affordable, effective treatments can be administered at home, therefore serving as an effective treatment option that requires minimal care directly from health care providers.
To combat diarrhea and its impact on global child mortality rates, this new policy calls on federal officials to appoint an individual referred to as the “Children’s Champion” to coordinate U.S. activities to reduce diarrhea-related mortality and serve as a global voice for children’s health. It also encourages global health programs in the U.S. to improve the supply of oral rehydration salts and zinc treatments, train providers in treatment guidelines, and increase public-private partnerships to scale up oral rehydration salts and zinc treatment by 30 percent within three years.
Ms. Mishkin conducted this work as a component of her 2017-2018 APHA maternal and child health (MCH) section student fellowship, where she worked with both the International MCH committee and the Global and Maternal Child Health Network (GMCHN). This policy statement, submitted on behalf of GMCHN, was recently adopted by the APHA governing council. The full policy statement will be released in early 2019.