While considerable recent progress has been made against childhood diarrheal diseases, the number of children dying from diarrhoea remains unacceptably high.
This week, PLOS Medicine publishes a report based upon the work of over 150 international experts who convened to review and discuss research priorities to address this global problem. Zulfiqar Bhutta from the Aga Khan University in Pakistan and colleagues report that the most important priority is for more research on implementation of known interventions.
Research questions involving improving implementation, especially through behaviour change and other delivery strategies, ranked most highly during the experts' deliberations. Oral rehydration and zinc were also seen as priorities, including research questions asking to identify driving factors of caregiver demand for oral rehydration solutions and zinc, and development of an ORS formulation that reduces stool output, were ranked highly.
The authors say that "in tandem with the Global Action Plan for Diarrhoea and Pneumonia, concerted efforts by a range of stakeholders in implementation research will be needed to equitably scale up already proven, effective interventions."
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Wazny K, Zipursky A, Black R, Curtis V, Duggan C, et al. (2013) Setting Research Priorities to Reduce Mortality and Morbidity of Childhood Diarrhoeal Disease in the Next 15 Years. PLoS Med 10(5): e1001446. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001446