CHAI and IKEA Foundation partner to reduce diarrhea deaths among children

Mon, 03/18/2013

The Clinton Health Access Initiative partners with the IKEA Foundation to dramatically increase treatment for 2nd largest killer of young children

The IKEA Foundation commits $24 million to rapidly increase use of life-saving medicines for diarrhea
Estimated 40,000 child deaths to be prevented by 2015 when targets met

September 25, 2012, New York – The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) is joining forces with the IKEA Foundation in an ambitious new effort to reduce diarrhea deaths among children in Kenya and one of the poorest states of India—Madhya Pradesh. The partnership aims to save the lives of nearly 40,000 children by 2015 by increasing access to the most effective treatment – zinc and oral rehydration salts (ORS). To achieve these ambitious goals, CHAI will partner with local and national governments in both countries and with private businesses, particularly in India, that currently deliver the majority of diarrhea treatments.

Currently, diarrhea is the second leading killer of children under five globally, responsible for over 800,000 deaths a year. Zinc and ORS are able to prevent over 90% of diarrhea-related deaths and cost less than $0.50, yet less than 5% of children globally are currently using the complete treatment.

“I am thrilled that the IKEA Foundation and the Clinton Foundation are working together to make simple medicines like zinc and ORS available to millions more children in need,” said President Bill Clinton. “This effort will save tens of thousands of lives.” "

Every child deserves to see their 5th birthday. And there is no reason that a child should die of diarrhea when it can be easily prevented with ORS and zinc. By working with CHAI, IKEA Foundation will ensure thousands more children are receiving these life-saving medicines – and reaching their 5th birthday" said Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation.

CHAI’s partnership with the IKEA Foundation is a core component of a growing global commitment to increasing use of zinc and ORS in the most affected areas of the world. A coordinated, global effort—coled by UNICEF and CHAI and formed last year—is supporting the 10 highest burden countries (accounting for nearly two-thirds of global deaths due to diarrhea) to develop and execute ambitious national plans to scale-up the treatments. Other partners active in the initiative include Abt Associates, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, JSI, MCHIP, Micronutrient Initiative, MSH, The MDG Health Alliance, PATH, PSI, RESULTS, and USAID.

Zinc and ORS scale-up has been set as a top priority for the MDG Health Alliance for its effort to help achieve the 4th Millennium Development Goal, reducing child mortality by two-thirds from 1990. The Alliance is comprised of eminent leaders in public and private sectors operating in support of the UN Secretary-General’s Every Woman Every Child movement. Raymond G. Chambers, Chair of the MDG Health Alliance, welcomed the IKEA Foundation’s investment: "With only 3 years left to achieve our global goals in child health, it is more important than ever that countries with the highest burden of child mortality focus on fighting the leading killers of children with the highest impact solutions. Scaling ORS and zinc can take India and Kenya one big step closer to MDG 4."

Zinc and ORS are also among 13 essential health commodities prioritized by the UN Commission on Life- Saving Commodities for Women and Children, chaired by Nigerian and Norwegian Heads of States, which has developed a set of high-impact recommendations to rapidly increase access to the commodities. The recommendations will be launched as part of the Every Woman Every Child movement on September 26th.

Building on this global momentum, the IKEA Foundation is supporting CHAI with a four-year commitment of $24 million to scale-up zinc and ORS in Kenya and India and will focus on implementing UN Commission recommendations, particularly in shaping local markets for delivering essential medicines. CHAI will pursue a commercial approach to create demand for zinc and ORS by educating mothers on the right treatment for their child’s diarrhea and ensuring that health workers fully understand the benefits of the products over alternatives. To further increase demand, CHAI will also encourage manufacturers to develop more child-friendly formulations than currently exists in low-income markets, for example pre-mixed “juice box” versions of ORS. Incentives will be created for wholesalers and distributors to actively promote and distribute the products. CHAI will work closely with governments in both countries to influence policy and funding decisions to improve access to zinc and ORS in the public sector.

Successes and lessons from the partnership in India and Kenya will be used to influence scale-up of zinc and ORS across India and other high-burden countries, which together account for over 500,000 deaths every year due to diarrhea.

About IKEA Foundation

The IKEA Foundation aims to improve opportunities for children and youth in developing countries by funding holistic, long-term programmes that can create substantial, lasting change. The Foundation works with strong strategic partners applying innovative approaches to achieve large-scale results in four fundamental areas of a child’s life: a place to call home; a healthy start in life; a quality education; and sustainable family income. Currently-funded programmes benefit an estimated 100 million children.
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For press inquiries, please contact: Jonathan Spampinato (Tel: +31 611 756 336; Email:

About Clinton Health Access Initiative

The Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI) began its work by addressing the HIV/AIDS crisis and strengthening health systems in the developing world. CHAI, under the leadership of local governments and by working with key partners, is leading the way in developing life-changing programs that improve markets for medicines and diagnostics, lowering the cost of and expanding access to treatments, and building stronger health care infrastructure in underserved countries. CHAI creates and implements these programs with a sustainable model so that the governments they collaborate with will eventually maintain them. CHAI has expanded this model to increase access to treatments for malaria, diarrhea, and tuberculosis, to accelerate the rollout of new vaccines, and to lower maternal, child, and infant mortality.
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For press inquiries, please contact: Oliver Sabot (Tel: +44 758 405 4028;

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