Top 3 Achievements in 2021

[Apologies for the delay in publishing this ‘end of year’ blog post.]

2009’s top 102010’s top 102011’s  top 102012’s top 102013’s top 10
2014’s top 10 | 2015’s top 10 | 2016’s top 10 | 2017’s top 10 | 2018’s top 10
2019’s top 5 | 2020’s top 5


COVID continued to hamper our efforts to extend our impact beyond Zambia. Even UNICEF – a key player when it comes in increasing access to co-packaged ORS and Zinc for the treatment of diarrhoea – were consumed by COVAX and COVID and services to children have suffered. However, in June this year, as the world started to learn to live with COVID, we felt that the time was right to re-start our work on achieving global impact and we are able to report on some significant progress.


1. ORSZCA start-up.

ORSZCA website banner

In Jun-21 a meeting was set up between PATH, JustActions and ColaLife to look at how the pre-COVID work that was started in 2019, to advocate for the new WHO recommendation that ORS and Zinc should be co-packaged for the treatment of diarrhoea in children, could be re-energised. The conclusion was that we should attempt to establish a worldwide network to advocate for the uptake of the new co-packaging recommendation and that this should be called the ORS/Zinc Co-pack Alliance (ORSZCA). We’ve worked since Jun-21 to establish ORSZCA and now the ORSZCA Co-chairs are now in place, we have a draft ORSZCA Strategy and Work Plan and ORSZCA will be launched on 19-Jan-22. Simon Berry of ColaLife worked with Leith Greenslade of JustActions to set up ORSZCA and Simon will be providing the secretariat function following the launch.

ColaLife will now focus on advocacy for the new WHO co-packaging recommendation (which we helped achieve) and this work will be done under the banner of ORSZCA.


2. Global Financing Facility to support diarrhoea treatment with ORS and Zinc.

New GFF text on ORS and ZincDuring the pre-launch phase of ORSZCA we noted that the Global Financing Facility (GFF, World Bank) launched a new and significant initiative to increase diarrhoea treatment called Reclaim the Gains.

This is aimed at getting non-COVID health services back on track following the onset of COVID-19. However, initially the initiative only mentioned “oral rehydration treatment”. It did not mention Zinc.

Through the, yet to be launched ORSZCA, we were able to engage with GFF and persuade them to come inline with the new recommendation – ORS and Zinc. See: ORSZCA applauds the endorsement of the importance of Zinc by the Global Financing Facility.

This will influence billions of dollars of investment in diarrhoea treatment.





3. UNICEF ORS/Zinc Co-pack prices.

When making the case to WHO to change the diarrhoea treatment recommendation to co-packaged ORS and Zinc, we presented evidence to show that co-packaged ORS and Zinc was cheaper than buying the component parts (ORS and Zinc) separately. However, while researching content for the ORSZCA website, we noted that, in stark contrast, co-packs in the UNICEF Supply Division catalogue were more that twice as expensive than their component parts – see Costs of co-packaged ORS and Zinc. UNICEF is clearly out of step with the rest of the market and this pricing is a significant barrier to the uptake if the new treatment recommendation.

UNICEF co-pack pices

Through ORSZCA we were able to engage with UNICEF on this issue. It turns out that UNICEF last tendered for ORS and Zinc products in 2015 (before the new co-packaging recommendation) and the planned re-tendering in 2020 was postponed due to COVID. We have been asked to be part of the consultation process for the next re-tendering process which is now planned for the first quarter of 2022. Watch this space! Please join ORSZCA to follow developments.


Finally, a big thank you to everyone who has supported ColaLife throughout 2021. We couldn’t do it without you.

Please follow ORSZCA.

Onwards and upwards.