In spring, when the rain brings the much anticipated water, it also brings something deadly. This rain will cover a third of Bangladesh with water, giving life and hope to the people there. 7 year old Manna Jiauddin lives in Ramhat. In this community the people there will gather water from the community pumps and store it in containers for later use. Unfortunately, during the rainy season it is very easy for drinking water to become contaminated. This contamination will allow the spread of diarrheal disease infections throughout the community. Once these dangerous diseases have begun to spread it does not take long at all for them to work their way through a community, making many of the people there sick. The only way to survive this ordeal is to receive prompt and competent medical treatment.
Manna contracted bloody diarrhea back in April, which completely changed his life. Diarrhea causes massive dehydration in its victims, and Manna’s normal life quickly turned into a battle for him to live. While people all around him became ill due to contaminated water, he was rushed to the hospital by his mother who knew that he needed immediate care. Luckily for Manna and his mother, this hospital was run by the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research. Locally it is known as The Cholera Hospital and treats up to 1000 patients each day who are sick with diarrhea. Thanks to a quick diagnoses and wonderful medical care, Manna was able to survive this ordeal, but the road to recovery was not easy for him, nor for many of the other patients at The Cholera Hospital.
Manna was given strong antibiotics to fight off the infection as well as Oral Rehydration Therapy, known as ORT, which will replace the salts, essential minerals, and fluids that are lost when a person is this sick with diarrhea. When he was finally released from the hospital to go home, Manna was still too sick and weak to even walk. He was carried back home to continue recovering. Several weeks passed before Manna was able to put on weight and get back to his normal self.
Not all patients are as lucky as Manna was. ORT saved his life, and it was the fast action and great care of doctors that made this treatment so successful. OneWorld Health is currently working on developing new medications that will be even more successful at treating diarrhea. They will work by preventing the massive fluid loss that can cause people to die of dehydration. The FDA has recently cleared this amazing new drug for Phase 1 clinical trials, bringing it one step closer to being able to save the lives of people like Manna. Together with ORT, doctors and scientists believe that this newly created drug will save the lives of many. Children are especially at risk of death from a diarrheal disease, and this new drug could be the answer to keeping them alive even when they are as sick as Manna was.