Unicef announced the launch of a new program costing around $5 million through which it hopes to provide zinc supplementation and oral rehydration therapy to children in an attempt to contain diarrhea.
Unicef Canada and Teck, a mineral company, launched the new program that will save over 150,000 children's lives in India.
The program aims to scale up the use of zinc supplementation and oral rehydration salts (ORS) to treat diarrhoea while strengthening health care systems across India.
More children under the age of five die in India than anywhere else in the world. One of the leading causes of these deaths is diarrhea.
Currently, only 2 percent of Indian children have access to zinc and ORS, a cost effective and proven life-saving diarrhea treatment.
The new partnership will save 150,000 children's lives over the course of the five year program, and 50,000 lives annually going forward, in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh alone - three states with the highest burden of childhood diarrhea in India through the provision of zinc and ORS.
"This new initiative exemplifies the considerable contributions corporate partnerships can make towards improving the lives of the world's most vulnerable children. UNICEF's partnership with Teck in India will provide strategic investments in proven interventions," said UNICEF Canada's president David Morley.
The program also aims to educate health workers and communities while strengthening the local supply chain to ensure zinc and ORS are accessible and that achievements made over the next five years are sustainable in the long term.
"In India, the number of children dying from diarrhea, an illness that can be treated with zinc and ORS is particularly dire," said Doug Horswill, senior vice president at Teck.
"As one of the world's largest producers of zinc, we have the ability and knowledge to help address this critical children's health issue."