One pill can save a child in Africa suffering from diarrhea. The hand of death takes 1.6 million children under the age of 5 world-wide from the ravages of the bowel condition according to the World Health Organization.
In Africa and Asia millions die each year from the affects of diarrhea. That seems a high figure to those in those in the West.
More children die from the disease than from malaria or AIDS. That could end if children are given a single Zinc pill. It appears the medication stops diarrhea in its tracks. That appears to be the findings in many studies, including one done in New Delhi, India.
With charity support some villages are seeing a turn around because of the pills. Bill and Melinda Gate's charity work along with the Idol Gives Back program are just two that are helping supply village medical clinics with zinc pills.
"Before, we were terrified when children's stomachs began running, because we knew some of them would die," says Sata Djialla in the Malian village of Morola. "Now our children are not dying of diarrhea."
The reason the pill works is because many in undeveloped nations have zinc deficiencies. Zinc deficiency lowers the immune system making children and adults more susceptible to infections that cause diarrhea.
Zinc has also been shown to increase the activation of T cells that destroy viruses and bacteria. With this new awareness it is possible that childhood deaths may decrease in the near future.