Smart ORS packaging could reduce infant mortality

London, June 30 (IANS) Improved packaging of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) could reduce infant mortality rates in developing countries like India, says a study.

Simple changes in packaging can lead to significant increase in the willingness of caregivers to provide ORS to their children.

Infant dehydration due to diarrhoea results in 600,000 deaths annually in the developing world due to inappropriate or no treatment. ORS is a key medicine to combat diarrhoea.

Caregivers indicated that current ORS packaging designs had inappropriately large sachets, lacking clear usage details and were visually unappealing.

“Every additional sachet of ORS sold because of improved aesthetic appeal has the potential to save the life of a child with diarrhoea. Making simple changes to the packaging of an existing product is an easily implementable strategy that could begin immediately,” said study co-author Peter Ward from the University of Warwick in Britain.

The researchers worked with over 600 caregivers in India, Nigeria and Uganda to assess their responses to existing and potential new ORS packaging designs.

“The majority of ORS sachets on the market are packaged to make a litre of solution. A primary concern of the rural caregivers interviewed was the inconvenience and wastage created through sourcing a litre of clean water to make a solution that needed to be consumed within a 24-hour time period,” study co-author Kate Kynvin from US-based Clinton Health Access Initiative, Inc. (CHAI), said.

“Reducing the sachet size to make a smaller volume will reduce this potential for waste, reduce the cost per sachet and increase product appeal.”

The study was presented at the ongoing 22nd EurOMA Conference, being held in Neuchatel, Switzerland.

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