Abt/POUZN’s principal implementing partner, Population Services International (PSI) in March 2006 launched the world’s first diarrhea treatment kit, called Orasel KIT®, in Pursat and Siem Reap districts of Cambodia, with support from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The Orasel KIT® contains two sachets of the new low-osmolarity oral rehydration salts (ORS) and one course of zinc treatment (10 tablets of 20mg), as recommended by WHO and UNICEF in their new (2004) protocol for the treatment of diarrhea in children under five. In numerous field trials zinc was found to decrease the duration and severity of diarrhea and to delay the reoccurrence of the disease.
Initially launched in Pursat and Siem Reap provinces in 2006 PSI hopes to make the product available nationwide by 2007. The zinc featured in the kit is dispersible in a small quantity of water or breast milk and has a pleasant taste, making it easy to administer for caretakers and pediatricians.
PSI/Cambodia is partnering with the Reproductive and Child Health Alliance (RACHA), a local NGO, and CARE Cambodia in Pursat, and American Red Cross (ARC)/Cambodian Red Cross (CRC) and RACHA in Siem Reap to distribute the Orasel KIT®. The kit is currently subsidized to ensure affordability to the vast majority of people and includes a low-literacy insert, targeted to mothers of children under the age of five to treat dehydration and diarrhea.
PSI/Cambodia is using multiple communication methods, including a TV and radio commercial, mobile video shows, a karaoke song VCD, and point of sales materials to increase knowledge of the correct treatment of diarrhea and to create demand for Orasel KIT®. PSI/Cambodia’s communications underscore the importance of safe drinking water, hand washing, continued feeding practices, and other elements of proper diarrhea management with ORT.
To reach health providers, PSI/Cambodia developed a training curriculum based on the latest IMCI and WHO guidelines in close collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Cambodian National Mother to Child Health Center. A training of trainers program was launched with NGO partners (RACHA, Care Cambodia, ARC/CRC) who then trained health center staff, village shop owners and village health support groups. The program also trained private healthcare providers including members of PSI’s Sun Quality Health Network clinics, pharmacists and drug store owners on Orasel KIT® and diarrhea management. PSI is also expanding its collaboration with the Cambodian Pediatrician Association to increase awareness of the new guidelines for treatment of diarrhea among children under 5 years of age.