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Originally published November 10 2007

The Real Medical Problem of Children in the Developing World

by Sarah Aitken

(NaturalNews) The developing world sees more deaths from diarrhoea than AIDS, or malaria annually. And yet, many people have been lead to believe these diseases are the true killers in places like Africa. AIDS is a devastating disease, and can take years to slowly kill someone, but a bad case of diarrhoea for a child that is chronically malnourished can kill in days.

According to UNICEF and the World Health Organization, the number of children that die from diarrhoea reaches 2.2 million a year. Malaria kills over one million, 1.1 million children under 15 in Africa are living with HIV, and a total of 4 million in the world for children under 15 are living with the retrovirus. A total of 610,000 deaths from AIDS occur in children annually. These numbers are staggering – but worst of all, a case of diarrhoea can be solved very simply through rehydration. This involves dissolving a sugar based product and salt in water, and giving this to the child.

Granted, the water used to make this mixture must be clean. But cleaning water, thanks to an invention that costs $5 as reported in a previous NaturalNews article, can be an inexpensive while saving lives. As reported in a Science Daily article, a simple “biosand” filter, which are concrete containers that hold gravel and sand, have been shown to reduce the cases of diarrhoea by up to 40%. The researchers wanted some verifiable proof that the biosand filters did the job, so they studied a few Dominican Republic villages and came up with very good results which can easily be adopted in many poor countries.

Many health practitioners would not recommend using refined white sugar, and would recommend honey products instead for the rehydration mixture. Dried honey could be substituted in these mixtures giving many additional health benefits, besides rehydrating the child.

Honey has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal properties, and is a natural humectant (attracts and retains moisture). Liquid honey never goes bad when left on the self and can be used topically as an antiseptic. And if that wasn’t enough, daily consumption of honey raises blood levels of protective antioxidant compounds in humans. This is according to research presented at the 227th meeting of the American Chemical Society in Anaheim, CA, March 28, 2004.

In addition to honey, a high quality sea salt, or rock crystal salt, would increase the health benefit of the rehydration mixture. Halite, or rock sat, is the mineral form of sodium chloride, your typical table salt, usually highly refined and stripped of trace minerals. By adding this high quality salt to the rehydration mixture, these malnourished, dehydrated children, would be getting extra minerals along with the desperately needed electrolytes.

There has been other, natural, advances to help combat deadly, bacteria induced diarrhoea in children. Scienc Daily reports that ginger can be added to the arsenal. An extract of ginger blocked the toxin responsible for diarrhoea caused by enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (E. coli), in studies using lab mice by Chien-Yun Hsiang and colleagues.

What can we do to raise awareness of this issue that is the easiest, and yet most deadly, problem for developing world children? Contact the Red Cross, UNICEF, World Health Organization, or your congressman, and spread the word to your friends and family. Many people will wear a pin or bracelet for AIDS, but a simple glass of water, with honey, sea salt and ginger could save more children’s lives this year.

Read the Science daily story on ginger here, biosand filters here, and the NaturalNews article here.

About the author

Sarah is a Chemical and Materials Engineer by education. Through years of focused self-study, she has come to see the benefit of whole food nutrition and allowing the body to heal itself. A Field Center Certified Facilitator, Sarah is passionate about being helpful to others, in any venue, in their quest for a better life.

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