Lem Lem Plus diarrhoea treatment kit, Ethiopia (DKT Pharmaceuticals)
The truth is, we can’t be sure and at the moment, there is no quick way of finding out. But ORSZCA (the global ORS/Zinc Co-pack Alliance) is seeking to change that. We are asking residents of low to middle-income countries to share what they know about the local ORS/Zinc status. We have developed a simple questionnaire in English and French to enable the collection this information and then we are sharing it here: orszco-pack.org/orsz-status. The questionnaire takes less than 10 minutes to complete and is designed to quickly collect the information you have at your fingertips. We will ensure robust coverage of each country through multiple submissions from each country.
It is early days but we have already received 22 questionnaires covering 14 countries. Of these only 5 have co-packaged ORS and Zinc on their national Essential Medicines List. Ethiopia stands out as it is the only country that we have found so far that has added co-packaged ORS and Zinc to its Essential Medicines List since the WHO Model Essential Medicines List incorporated this change in 2019.
All the evidence suggests that:
- co-packaged ORS and Zinc is the most cost-effective way of delivering the recommended treatment for diarrhoea and
- co-packaging ORS and Zinc improves ORS and Zinc coverage and
- increased coverage is directly linked to reduced mortality.
We also know that adding co-packaged ORS and Zinc to the Essential Medicines List of a country helps ensure availability and encourages manufacture by the local pharmaceutical sector.