ORS or the Oral Rehydration Salts is a simple mix of sugar, salt and water. It restores electrolyte balance in the body and is a vital remedy for those who suffer from dehydration, especially infants and the children. If electrolyte balance in the body is not restored timely, then it can turn fatal. To mark the importance of ORS to infant health and well-being and to keep dehydration away, ORS is an elixir. ORS day is marked every year to spread public awareness about ORS, it’s availability and how to use it.
World ORS Day is observed on July 29 every year to create awareness about the importance of Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) in saving millions of lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) adopted ORS as the main strategy to combat dehydration caused due to diarrhea in 1978. Until that period, intravenous fluid therapy (IV fluids) was the “gold standard” to treat moderate and severe dehydration.
In India, ORT was developed in the late 1960s by researchers from the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), for the treatment of cholera.
Why is ORS Day important?
Although diarrhea is curable, there is still a need to create awareness about ORS. According to World Health Organization (WHO), diarrhea-related diseases are the second leading cause of death in children below 5 years of age. It is also the third leading cause of death among children in India. About 1.7 billion children around the globe are estimated to be affected by diarrhea every year. This disease claim death of around 5.25 lakh children below 5 years of age every year.
Many children, as well as seniors who die due to diarrhea, do so because of loss of fluids and severe dehydration. ORS can effectively prevent dehydration caused by diarrhea and other diseases in a cost-effective manner. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the WHO thus started promoting the use of ORS from the beginning of the 21st century. The National Health Portal set up at by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of India also actively promotes the benefits of consuming ORS.
Benefits of ORS
· Replenishes the body with essential salts
· Restores electrolyte balance of the body
· Fights against dehydration
· Keep the body fit