On November 17 2019, Nepal CRS Company (CRS) with support from SHOPS (Sustaining Health Outcomes through Private Sector (SHOPS) Plus launched an oral rehydration solution (ORS) and zinc combi-pack to mitigate childhood diarrhea cases in Province 2, south-eastern region of Nepal. The combi-pack was launched in an event held at Hotel Sitasharan in Janakpur — the capital city of Province 2. The combi-pack branded as Nava Jeevan Zinc Plus is available through more than 2,000 medical outlets of Province 2.
During the program, chief guest Mr. Ramdev Banrait Yadav, Chairperson District Development Coordination Committee emphasized that there should be awareness among the general public about the use of Zinc tablets with ORS for diarrhea among children under five. “Pharmacists and service providers should prescribe/ recommend the use of Nava Jeevan Zinc Plus to reduce the child mortality rate in the province where there is a high risk of diarrhea.”
The Nava Jeevan Zinc Plus is a component under the Improvement of Child health through the Private sector engagement (IPC) program that aims to raise awareness and knowledge of the use of zinc with ORS among the service providers and caregivers. SHOPS Plus and CRS will focus on ensuring commercial viability, educate pharmacists and chemists about the combi-pack, broadcast radio jingle in various languages across the province, and promote the combi-pack as a better alternative to antibiotics for proper treatment of diarrhea among children under five.
The decision to launch the product in Province 2 was made by observing the findings of the Nepal Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) 2016 which suggested that the prevalence of diarrhea among children under five is highest in Province 2 (9 percent) where roughly 16 percent go untreated and only 3.3 percent receive treatment with zinc. This is the lowest treatment rate among all provinces in Nepal.
SHOPS Plus had conducted a qualitative survey — Nepal Child Health Diarrhea Treatment Qualitative research to inform ORS and Zinc Promotion. The finding of the survey showed that caregivers use some form of antibiotic and antiprotozoal medication for children under five diarrhea treat. The research further elaborated that these medications were prescribed by service providers or pharmacists and caregivers use whichever treatment the provider recommends.