This Poo Powder Aims to Help India’s Diarrhea Problem

Thursday, March 26, 2015

An organic mixture made of coconut, rice and lemons is under development to help limit the spread of diseases associated with open defecation and diarrhea in a country where more than half of the 1.2 billion population relieve themselves outside.

As part of a “Stop Diarrhoea” program run by the non-profit Save the Children, a biodegradable toilet powder that speeds up the breakdown of excrement has been developed by Reckitt Benckiser — makers of toilet cleaning products such as Harpic and Dettol.

Justin Forsyth, chief executive of Save the Children UK said the product was “not a magic bullet.”

But it is part of a broader plan laid out by United Nations body Unicef and the World Health Organization to reduce child mortality including promoting breast feeding, washing hands and other better hygiene practices.

India grapples with a host of preventable diseases associated with open defecation including diarrhea which kills an estimated 123,668 children under the age of five every year, according to Unicef.

“Often people don’t understand the connection between hygiene and behavior,” Mr. Forsyth said. “We are hoping with community mobilization and communication we can bring about some behavioral change.”

Source: The Wall Street Journal (link opens in a new window)

Health Care
infectious diseases, infrastructure