ORSZCA is a global alliance of individuals and organisations working together to advocate for the accelerated uptake of the 2019 WHO recommendation that Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and Zinc should be co-packaged for the treatment of diarrhoea. We share a concern that without an active advocacy effort uptake will be delayed and avoidable morbidity and mortality of young children will be the result.
ORSZCA has no legal structure and relies on paid and volunteer work undertaken by its members. A three-year strategy is developed and approved every three years by the Co-chairs in consultation with ORSZCA members. The ORSZCA Co-chairs meet at least twice yearly to approve the annual work plan and review progress. The Co-chairs are supported by an administration team.
Membership to ORSZCA is open to all and sign-up is through the website. Members can leave by unsubscribing from the emailing list. There are no fees for membership.
Disputes between ORSZCA members are resolved by the ORSZCA Co-chairs, if necessary. The Co-chairs can ask any member to leave the network if that member shows consistent non-alignment with ORSZCA’s strategic plan.
ORSZCA leadership is provided by its two Co-chairs – one from the global south and one from the north. Our current Co-chairs are Dr Morseda Chowdhury (BRAC, Bangladesh) and Samy Ahmar (Save the Children, UK).
|Dr Morseda Chowdhury
As Director of Health, Nutrition and Population Programme in BRAC, Dr. Morseda Chowdhury heads the largest non-governmental healthcare network in the world with ~50,000 community health workers (CHWs) serving 110m population in Bangladesh. Currently, the program reaches around 10m people through CHWs with Essential Health Services (EHS) which includes Orsaline as treatment of diarrhoea and reproductive healthcare which includes zinc packages for mothers, children and adolescent girls who need it.With nearly 20 years of work experience and PhD from Sydney School of Public Health, Dr. Morseda brings decades of experience in Public Health from practical project management to strategic research. Her specialty lies in reproductive healthcare, nutrition, communicable and non-communicable diseases through community-based healthcare.During the COVID pandemic, she has stewarded BRAC’s health program to rapidly adapt to changed scenario, being the first non-governmental organization to introduce COVID sample collection booths, rapid antigen testing, remote digitized project management, telemedicine, community-based syndromic surveillance and vaccination centres among other interventions – to build a portfolio reaching 76m people across half the country, making BRAC the Government’s partner of choice in COVID response. As ORSCZA co-chair, she brings the insight of practical ground-level realities of a nation-wide program combined with academic research for advocacy with the Government.
Samy Ahmar is Head of Health at Save the Children UK, where he and his team oversee a global portfolio of maternal, newborn, and child health projects in 20 countries with a focus sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Samy has 14 years of experience in international development, global health and evidence-based programming. His team has partnered with a number of world-class research institutions (UCL Global Health, LSHTM, KEMRI, Johns Hopkins, UCH Ibadan, University of Melbourne) and contributed to expanding the global knowledge base in the cost-effectiveness of the 7-point plan for diarrhoea control in India and Nigeria – including the use of ORS & Zinc co-packaging which our programmes pioneered in these countries – the use of chlorhexidine for umbilical cord care in Kenya, kangaroo mother care in low-resource settings for premature and low-birth weight babies, community health systems and the use of pulse oximetry for improved diagnosis and case management of pneumonia in Nigeria, the use of crisis modifiers for continued provision of and access to health services in Yemen and DRC, to name a few. Samy’s blog is here.
The ORSZCA Co-chairs are supported by a secretariat function provided by Simon Berry OBE, supported by Jane Berry.
Simon is the CEO, and co-founder, with Jane, of ColaLife a small NGO focussed on improved access to diarrhoea treatment for children. Their work in this area started in 2008 when Simon globalised the idea of co-distribution of co-packaged ORS and Zinc in Coca-Cola crates.* After a trial in Zambia, delivered by local partners under the Ministry of Health, co-distribution was found to be unimportant but co-packaging transformed access to ORS and Zinc. After scaling up in Zambia, Simon went on to work through the Diarrhoea Innovations Group to successfully apply to WHO to change the diarrhoea recommendation to co-packaged ORS and Zinc (>>more). ORSZCA is the next logical phase of ColaLife’s mission to transform access to diarrhoea treatment in low to middle-income countries. Jane continues to support ORSZCA, including the francophone advocacy effort.
Simon was awarded an OBE for services to global child health in the 2023 UK New Year Honours List.
* Neither Simon, nor Jane nor ColaLife have any formal links with The Coca-Cola Company (TCCC) although mimicking TCCC’s approach to product design, value-chain creation and direct marketing were key success factors in ColaLife’s early work.
From June to December 2021, Leith Greenslade (JustActions) and Simon Berry (ColaLife) worked together as start-up catalysts for ORSZCA. Simon continues to provide the ORSZCA Secretariat and Leith remains as a special adviser to ORSZCA.