75% of deaths could be saved if we just did what we know how to do

This blog post was inspired by a tweet from the people at USAID Global Health:

USAIDgh tweet

I can’t verify whether Cyril Engmann actually said this but if he did it’s significant. Dr Engmann is Senior Program Officer, Neonatal Health at The Gates Foundation.

We believe that this statement is true and is certainly backed up by ColaLife’s compelling findings. We didn’t invent a new treatment. We didn’t invent or create a new distribution system. We didn’t invent a new marketing system. We just put existing knowledge and systems together in a new way.

Our starting point:

  1. 1 in 8 children die before their 5th birthday in developing countries
  2. The 2nd biggest killer in dehydration from diarrhoea which kills more children that Malaria and HIV/AIDS combined
  3. We have known how to treat diarrhoea for more than 30 years
  4. There has been an international standard for treatment (ORS and Zinc) in place for 10 years
  5. Yet, less than 1% of diarrhoea cases receive this treatment

What the ColaLife approach achieved:

  1. We raised the treatment level from less than 1% to 45% in 12 months from a standing start
  2. 3 lives are saved for every 1,000 kits sold

Given this, it is depressing, that 12 months since the ColaLife trial finished we are still struggling to raise the funding needed to scale-up across Zambia. ┬áBut we will keep trying and won’t give up.



A note on the data in this post

The data contained in this blog post are unpublished and based on preliminary analysis of data from the ColaLife Operational Trial in Zambia (COTZ). Final calculations may vary and will be published in peer reviewed literature in due course. In the interim, the following citation may be used: Ramchandani, R. et al. (forthcoming). ColaLife Operational Trial Zambia (COTZ) Evaluation. Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore. Related correspondence should be sent to Rohit Ramchandani (roramcha@jhsph.edu) and copied to Simon Berry (simon@colalife.org).