Drugs in the management of acute diarrhoea in infants and young children.
This article presents an overview of current therapeutic practice as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) Diarrheal Disease Control Program. The recommendations apply solely to acute diarrheal disease in infants and children. Therapy for such cases is primarily concerned with the prevention or correction of dehydration, the maintenance of nutrition, and the treatment of dysentery. The various approaches to treatment considered are: 1) oral rehydration, which is highly effective for combating dehydration and its serious consequences, but does not diminish the amount or duration of diarrhea; 2) antimotility drugs, none of which are recommended for use in infants and children because the benefits are modest and they may cause serious side effects, such as nausea and vomiting; 3) antisecretory drugs, only a few of which have been properly studied in clinical trials, virtually all of which have important side effects, a low therapeutic index, and/or only modest efficacy. Consequently, none can at present be recommended for the treatment of acute infectious diarrhea in infants and children. 4) aciduric bacteria, on which conclusive evidence is still lacking; 5) adsorbents: kaolin and charcoal have been proposed as antidiarrheal agents in view of their ability to bind and inactivate bacterial toxins, but the results of clinical studies have been disappointing. 6) improved Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS): this may turn out to be the most effective and safest antidiarrheal drug. 7) antibiotics and antiparasitic drugs for a few infectious diarrheas (e.g., cholera). Antibiotics can significantly diminish the severity and duration of diarrhea and shorten the duration of excretion of the pathogen. No antibiotic or chemotherapeutic agent has proven value fort the routine treatment of acute diarrhea; their use is inappropriate and possibly dangerous. It is concluded that oral that oral rehydration is the only cost-effective method of treating diarrhea among infants and children.The Inter-African Committee's (IAC) work against harmful traditional practices is mainly directed against female circumcision. Progress towards this aim is achieved mostly through the efforts of th non governmental organizations (NGO) Working Group on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children and the IAC. In 1984 the NGO Working Group organized a seminar in Dakar on such harmful traditional practices in Africa. The IAC was created to follow up the implementation of the recommendations of the Dakar seminar. The IAC has endeavored to strengthen local activities by creating national committees in Benin, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sudan and Togo. IAC activities in each country are briefly described In addition, the IAC has created an anatomical model, flannelgraphs, and slides to provide adequate educational material for the training of medical staff in teaching hospitals and to make village women aware of the harmful effects of female circumcision. The IAC held 2 African workshops at the Nairobi UN Decade for Women Conference. The African participants recognized the need for international solidarity to fight female circumcision and showed a far more definite and positive difference in their attitude towards the harmful practice than was demonstrated at the Copenhagen Conference/ Forum of 1980. At the United Nations level, female circumcision is receiving serious consideration. A special Working Group has been set up to examine the phenomenon. Finally, this article includes a statement by a sheikh from the Al Azhar University in Cairo about Islam's attitude to female circumcision.