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POUZN Releases Key “Lessons Learned” on Introduction of Zinc in Indonesia

Zinc is widely recognized as a highly effective and inexpensive way to treat childhood diarrhea. However, the challenge of introducing a new product and encouraging people to use it—particularly those at the bottom of the pyramid — is enormous. In 2005, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) created the Point-of-Use Water Disinfection and Zinc Treatment (POUZN) Project and contracted with AED to introduce zinc in combination with Oral Rehydration Therapy (ORT) in India, Tanzania, and Indonesia.

POUZN recently released a report on Lessons Learned for its efforts in Indonesia. The premise of the project was that the private sector could play a key role in creating demand for the product, ensuring supply at an affordable price, and, ultimately, increasing its usage, thereby reducing the severity and incidence of debilitating diarrhea in children. To do this effectively required changing both patient and provider treatment patterns, while creating a viable marketplace for the product.

Today in Indonesia, zinc prescriptions are increasing, and producers are recognizing a viable market for the product and therefore manufacturing and selling it. AED/POUZN has effectively engaged other stakeholders as well, from the government who enthusiastically adopted zinc treatment as part of its national guidelines and is now working to raise awareness and proffer national distribution, to national associations who complement the pharmaceutical industry in helping to increase zinc awareness in key populations.

The case study that follows recounts the story of a strong public-private effort developed to establish a sustainable model for ongoing zinc distribution in Indonesia. It provides the context for and goals of the project and the various phases of the project. It looks to the future for next steps and summarizes the principal lessons learned during the project.

Click here to read the full report (PDF, 2.5mb)

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Posted June 2010

Read more about the Point-Of-Use Water Disinfection and Zinc Treatment Project (POUZN) project