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P N G Med J. 2011 Mar-Jun;54(1-2):17-22.

Zinc sulphate for treatment and prevention of diarrhoea and other conditions in children in Papua New Guinea.

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Centre for International Child Health, University of Melbourne, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Victoria 3052, Australia.


Over the last 10 years more than 40 randomized trials of zinc sulphate in diarrhoea have been done in developing countries throughout the world. Almost all have shown a benefit of zinc therapy for 5-10 days, if given with oral rehydration solution, in reducing the severity and duration of severe diarrhoea and preventing diarrhoea in the subsequent 3 months. Zinc has also been proven to reduce mortality in the management of children with severe malnutrition. Two studies have shown a benefit of zinc treatment on the clinical resolution of pneumonia and another study from Africa showed that zinc adjuvant treatment led to a significant reduction in mortality from pneumonia. Despite this overwhelming evidence, few countries in the Asia-Pacific region have scaled up the use of zinc in the treatment or prevention of diarrhoea or other infections. The reasons for this are several, including obstacles to incorporating new treatments into routine drug procurement and distribution mechanisms, and failure to appreciate the steps involved in the promotion of new routine treatments. A much higher priority must be given to ensuring that children with malnutrition, diarrhoea and other infections have access to zinc and oral rehydration solution--both of which are low-cost and life-saving treatments.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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