UNICEF has been working in India since 1949 advocating for the rights of children and young people.

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Did you know in India, every day, over 500 children die due to #Dirarrohea.

As we celebrate the Intensified Dirarrohea Control Fortnight, this#infographic takes a look Diarrhoea- on of the biggest killer of #children in India.

Every year 206,000 under five year old children unnecessarily succumb to Dirarrohea. 

Contaminated water and / or food, inadequate sanitation, especially lack of water and toilet facilities, poor hygiene, especially lack of handwashing before food and after defecation and lack of immunization, especially against measles and rotavirus infections are major causes of Dirarrohea.

Launch of Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight

New Delhi, July 28, 2014: The Hon’ble Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, today launched the intensified diarrhea control fortnight (IDCF) demonstrating the urgent need to focus attention on the disease that is responsible for over 2 lakh deaths of children in India, every year.  

The launch of the Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF) which will be held from 28th July to 8th August across the county was attended by Shri Lov Verma, Union Secretary Health & Family Welfare, Shri R.K Jain, Additional Secretary & DG, Director General of Health Services Professor Jagdish Prasad, Dr. Rakesh Kumar, Joint Secretary, Mr. Louis Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Representative,  Dr. Nata Menabde, Country Chief, WHO India and representatives from various development organization including Micronutrient Initiative and representative from Indian Academy of Pediatrics.

“Building on the good progress that India has already made in reducing child deaths, the Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight will mobilize health personnel, state governments and other stakeholders to prioritize investment in control of diarrhea—one of the most common childhood illnesses. It aims to create mass awareness about the most effective and low-cost diarrhoea treatment— a combination of Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) solution and Zinc tablets,” said Dr Harsh Vardhan, speaking on the occasion. 

The Secretary Health & Family Welfare in his address said that India has realized impressive gains in child survival over the last two decades. There has been a consistent decline in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Under-Five Mortality Rate (U5MR). Increased access to immunization and child healthcare services during this period, have greatly contributed to this decline. Yet, an estimated 1.36 million children die each year in India, including approximately 2 lakh deaths due to diarrhoea.

In the welcome address by Mr. R.K. Jain, Additional Secretary said that this intensified diarrhea control fortnight is being supported by other ministries of the Government of India, especially the Education, Panchayati Raj Institutions, Women and Child Development and Water and Sanitation.

The Joint Secretary Dr. Rakesh Kumar and Professor Mathuram Santosham from John Hopkins , USA made a comprehensive presentation describing the global scenario as well as the details of the fortnight. Dr. Rakesh Kumar explained that during the fortnight, intensified community awareness campaigns on hygiene and age-appropriate childhood feeding practices and promotion of ORS and Zinc therapy will be conducted at state, district and village levels.  The focus will be on diarrhea control activities during the first week and on infant and young child feeding practices (IYCF) during the second week. ORS-Zinc Corners will be set-up at health care facilities. Health workers will hold counselling sessions on appropriate methods of Infant and Young Child feeding practices, hygiene and sanitation.

Addressing the gathering, Mr. Louis-Georges Arsenault, UNICEF India Representative said, “This national campaign to fight diarrhoea - the third deadliest illness for children – will re-energize efforts to prevent the deaths of millions of children in the country. IDCF targets to reduce mortality rates and raise levels of children’s access to life-saving interventions.”

Emphasizing that diarrhoea is preventable and also treatable, Dr. Nata Menabde, WHO Chief in India said “Many children in the developing world cannot access urgent medical care for severe illnesses, making prevention methods—including improved hygiene, sanitation, safe drinking water, exclusive breastfeeding-critical components of diarrheal disease control.”

MoHFW has made it a national priority to bring health outcomes among children to a level equitable with the rest of the world. WHO, UNICEF, and other partners have been working closely with the Government to help realize this vision. 

Media Contacts:

Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:

 Dr. Ajay Khera, Deputy Commissioner Child Health and Immunization, ajaykheramch@gmail.com, #9810206150

Dr. Manisha Verma, Chief Media Officer, MOHFW, pibhealth@gmail.com, #9013815118


Caroline Den Dulk, Chief of Communication,cdendulk@unicef.org,#9818106093

Geetanjali Master, Communication Specialst, gmaster@unicef.org, #9818105861

Sonia Sarkar,Communciation Officer, ssarkar@unicef.org, #9810170289 ​

Tweet a picture of yours thanking mobilsers, vaccinators and Amitabh Bachchan using the hashtag: #WeArePolioFree

Today at a glittering ceremony, we are paying a tribute to the millions of vaccinators and mobilisers and Mr Amitabh Bachchan as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for their efforts in making India Polio Free. 

Join UNICEF India family in paying a tribute to the these tireless vaccinators and mobilizers who have been working tirelessly in the diverse and remote parts of the country, ensuring that every child under age 5 was immunized.

You can also watch the event live from 6 P.M onwards


Tweet now your message (in any language) with your picture using hashtag #werarepoliofree and join in the celeberations of a polio free India

It is this You Could Be in Star Wars: Episode VII to benefit UNICEF Innovation Labs and Programmes.

In a special video message from the set of Star Wars: Episode VII, director J.J. Abrams announces the creation of Star Wars: Force for Change, a brand new Star Wars initiative from Disney and Lucasfilm.

The first Star Wars: Force for Change campaign will raise funds and awareness for UNICEF’s Innovation Labs and its innovative projects benefitting children in need. 

To support the launch of Star Wars: Force for Change, Disney has committed $1 million, and fans can now donate directly at http://bit.ly/ForceForChange for a chance to appear in Star Wars: Episode VII.

By pledging as little as $10 through the Omaze fundraising platform, any eligible supporter will be automatically entered for a chance to win this once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

Talking about child rights is the first step to serving the best interests of children. Do you agree? 

India’s Global Interfaith WASH Alliance (GIWA)  signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) today between the Representative of UNICEF in India, Louis-Georges Arsenault and H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand  Saraswati, Co-Founder of the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and President of  Parmarth Niketan, Rishikesh, one of India’s largest interfaith organizations.

The agreement signed today at UNICEF Country Office in New Delhi, follows the launch of GIWA on 25th September 2013, at UNICEF Headquarters in New York, under sponsorship of USAID and the Government of the Netherlands.

At the signing ceremony, H.H. Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji called for an increased focus on improving the situation of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene in India. “We have worshipped the creator for long, now it is time we take care of His creations, so that life may be improved for all” said the spiritual leader, while adding that changing mindsets is crucial to address the sanitation crisis in India.

Pujya Swamiji highlighted the role of children as active agents of change. “Children are the ones who can really make the difference. They can change the views of their families and, thus, help to bring about a positive change,” he stated.

“Working together - in a strong partnership, we will drive positive change” pointed out Louis-Georges Arsenault, Representative of UNICEF in India.

GIWA and UNICEF aim to engage different faiths as allies in the efforts to create a world where every human being has access to safe drinking water, improved sanitation and proper hygiene.

As a first step, GIWA India with technical support from UNICEF, plans a ‘Worship to WASH’ summit in Rishikesh, Uttarakhand later this year. The Summit will bring together India’s most eminent faith leaders to identify what each can do to accelerate the pace of change.

UNICEF supports the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan, Total Sanitation Campaign, which aims at improving access and use of sanitation facilities and the National Rural Drinking Water Programme to provide adequate safe water to every rural household in India. 

The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programme also works with the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan of the Education Ministry and the Integrated Child Development Services programme of the Women and Child Development Ministry to promote hygiene water and sanitation services in schools, anganwadi centers and health centers

Child marriage perpetuates the cycle of poverty, illiteracy, under-nutrition, impacts children’s growth and development. Children deeply suffer from the physical, intellectual, psychological and emotional impact of the marriage. It normally cuts short their education and their opportunities to make informed decisions about their own future. 

One of the reasons behind this practice is the belief that women and girls have little value and are considered a burden for the family. 

Traditional beliefs around girls’ chastity and the fear of staining the honour of the family and the common demand of dowry are also motivations for the family to marry their girls as soon as possible. 

UNICEF has been working with Government of India and civil society to foster a change in social norms and behaviors that promote child marriage and ensure that children live their childhood and adolescence.

Ensuring quality education for all children in India from pre-school through elementary and secondary education while reducing gender and other social and economic disparities is a priority for UNICEF. 

We are supporting the Government of India, to ensure greater access to education, enrolment and improved learning outcomes.

UNICEF is supporting the Government of India in expanding the coverage and impact of ten evidence-based and high impact nutrition interventions that are essential for the survival, growth and development of mothers and children.

UNICEF’s partnership with the Government aims at improving breastfeeding practices and complementary feeding for newborns, infants and young children in the first two years of life.

The partnership also looks at improving micronutrient nutrition and anemia control for women, adolescents, infants and young children and improving therapeutic feeding and care for young children with severe acute malnutrition.

The focus of UNICEF’s work is to universalize the coverage of these interventions, with special emphasis on the poorest, youngest and most vulnerable.