Getting Rehydrated in Ebola’s Epicenter

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By Kate Andrews, ChildFund Staff Writer
Posted on 12/8/2014

One of the side effects of Ebola is extreme and widespread dehydration, which causes a majority of the deaths among infected people. Others, especially children, come down with diarrhea, which is killing thousands because health facilities are closed or focused solely on Ebola.

DripDrop ORS

However, a U.S.-based startup company named DripDrop is providing Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) to ChildFund’s programs in West Africa. The powder packets — also called DripDrop — contain a precise ratio of electrolytes and sugar, which when mixed with clean water replenish fluids lost through sweating, vomiting or diarrhea. The solutions taste like lemon and berry. Almost anyone, even small children, can drink ORS, and they’re sometimes used by the military in the field if fresh water is unavailable. Even doctors and nurses in Ebola clinics can benefit, as they can lose up to five liters of fluid during an hour-long shift — yes, one hour — in sweat. In 90-degree temperatures, their protective gear is very heavy and hot, and they’re in danger of passing out from the heat.

Dehydration is caused by not just low water intake but also insufficient electrolytes, which are necessary to maintain critical functions like blood and oxygen flow in the body.

The newly launched DripDrop Foundation has already sent to Liberia a shipment of their ORS that was distributed to 5,500 people in three counties (Lofa, Bong and Montserrado) and the Interim Care Center in Monrovia. In October, the DripDrop senior management team funded another $125,000 of products for ChildFund’s airlift of supplies to Sierra Leone.

“This donation of the new DripDrop ORS through ChildFund International will reach many Liberians now in distress and needing ORS,” said Matthew T.K. Flomo, Liberia’s deputy health minister for administration. “The lemon and berry taste will make children enjoy it and like to take it every time. This will immensely help save lives of our dear nation.”

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