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CPSHI Convenes Meeting of Key POUZN players on Scaling Up Zinc with ORT/ORS in Children

The AED Center for Private Sector Health Initiatives (CPSHI) hosted a two-day meeting on June 29 and 30 entitled Introducing Pediatric Zinc with ORT/ORS in the Private Sector. This culminating event was intended to highlight lessons learned from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) funded Point-Of-Use Water Disinfection and Zinc Treatment (POUZN) project co-managed by AED and Abt Associates, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Scaling Up of Zinc for Young Children (SUZY) project in Bangladesh.

The meeting provided a forum for donor, research, and implementing organizations to discuss the scaling up of pediatric zinc with oral rehydration therapy/oral rehydration salts (ORT/ORS) in the private sector. Participants shared field experiences, research findings, best practices, and challenges associated with implementing zinc programs in various geographical settings. According to Camille Saadé, POUZN Project Director at CPSHI, "the event helped inform future directions in this groundbreaking area. It allowed us to share lessons learned in creating public-private partnerships that truly reach the base of the pyramid, helping to improve the future of zinc treatment for pediatric diarrhea."

Childhood diarrheal disease is a leading cause of death globally, exceeding that of AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Pediatric zinc, when used in combination with ORT/ORS, is a very effective form of treatment but it is still not widely used. Introducing Pediatric Zinc with ORT/ORS in the Private Sector provided a unique opportunity for showcasing the findings of the SUZY and POUZN projects, which are known for pioneering the introduction of zinc in diarrheal disease management programs. Christian Winger, Deputy POUZN Project Director described the event as "energizing for the diarrhea treatment community, allowing it to move forward in its efforts to take this important treatment to scale."

The event was led by Dr. John Borrazzo, Maternal and Child Health Division Chief and Malia Boggs, Technical Advisor for Nutrition both of USAID. Presenters included policy makers, funders, researchers, implementers and evaluators. The voice of the funding agencies—including Canadian International Development Agency, World Health Organization, United Nations Children's Fund, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and USAID—was heard before the conclusion of the meeting, at a Donors' Roundtable session, during which suggestions were made on future directions and funding, so that this important work can continue.

Posted June 2010

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