Send to

Choose Destination
J Glob Health. 2019 Jun;9(1):0010503. doi: 10.7189/jogh.09.010503.

Increasing coverage of pediatric diarrhea treatment in high-burden countries.

Author information

Clinton Health Access Initiative, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Clinton Health Access Initiative, Abuja, Nigeria.
Clinton Health Access Initiative, Nairobi, Kenya.
Clinton Health Access Initiative, New Delhi, India.
Clinton Health Access Initiative, Kampala, Uganda.



Diarrhea is the second leading cause of infectious deaths in children under-five globally. Oral rehydration salts (ORS) and zinc could avert an estimated 93% of deaths, but progress to increase coverage of these interventions has been largely stagnant over the past several decades. The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), along with donors and country governments in India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Uganda, implemented programs to scale-up ORS and zinc coverage from 2012 to 2016. The programs sought to demonstrate that increases in pediatric diarrhea treatment rates are possible at scale in high-burden settings through a holistic approach addressing both supply and demand barriers. We describe the overall program model and the activities undertaken in each country. The overall goal of the paper is to share the program results and lessons learned to inform other countries aiming to scale-up ORS and zinc.


We used a triangulation approach, using population-based household surveys, public facility audits, and private outlet surveys, to evaluate the program model. We used pre- and post-program population-based household survey data to estimate the changes in coverage of ORS and zinc for treatment of diarrhea cases in children under-five in program areas. We also conducted secondary analysis of Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) surveys in surrounding regions and compared annual coverage changes in the CHAI-supported program geographies to the surrounding regions.


Across CHAI-supported focal geographies, the average ORS coverage across the program areas increased from 35% to 48% and combined ORS and zinc coverage increased from 1% to 24%. ORS coverage increases were statistically significant in the program states in India, from 22% (95% confidence interval CI = 21-23%) to 48% (95% CI = 47-50%) and program states in Nigeria, from 38% (95% CI = 32-40%) to 55% (95% CI = 51-58%). For combined ORS and zinc, coverage increases were statistically significant in all program geographies. Compared to surrounding regions, the estimated annual changes in combined ORS and zinc coverage were greater in program geographies. Using the Lives Saved Tool and based on the coverage changes during the program period, we estimated 76 090 diarrheal deaths were averted in the program geographies.


Increasing ORS and zinc coverage at scale in high-burden countries and states is possible through a comprehensive approach that targets both demand and supply barriers, including pricing, optimal product qualities, provider dispensing practices, stocking rates, and consumer demand.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interests: KS, AB, LW, JH, CF, OW, RK, GM, NT, PB, HD, DK, LM, PM, AM, and FL are or were employees of the Clinton Health Access Initiative and were involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the program. The authors have completed the Unified Competing Interest form at (available on request from the corresponding author) and declare no other conflicts of interest.

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center