Diarrhoea remains a leading killer of young children, despite the availability of a simple treatment solution

Diarrhoea is a leading killer of children, accounting for approximately 8 per cent of all deaths among children under age 5 worldwide in 2017. This translates to over 1,300 young children dying each day, or about 480,000 children a year, despite the availability of simple effective treatment.

Most deaths from diarrhoea occur among children less than 2 years of age living in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Despite this heavy toll, progress is being made. From 2000 to 2017, the total annual number of deaths from diarrhoea among children under 5 decreased by 60 per cent. Many more children could be saved through basic interventions.

Data

Diarrhoeal disease

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  • Diarrhoea as a cause of death in children under 5

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Notes on the data

Definition of main indicators

Diarrhoea treatment with ORS: Percentage of children under age 5 who had diarrhoea in the two weeks preceding the survey and who received oral rehydration salts (ORS packets or pre-packaged ORS fluids).

Diarrhoea treatment with oral rehydration therapy and continued feeding – Percentage of children under age 5 who had diarrhoea in the two weeks preceding the survey and who received oral rehydration therapy (oral rehydration salts, recommended home-made fluids or increased fluids) and continued feeding.