Evolution of the World Health Organization's programmatic actions to control diarrheal diseases

J Glob Health. 2019 Dec;9(2):020802. doi: 10.7189/jogh.09.020802.


The Program for the Control of Diarrheal Diseases (CDD) of the World Health Organization (WHO) was created in 1978, the year the Health for All Strategy was launched at the Alma Ata International Conference on Primary Health Care. CDD quickly became one of the pillars of this strategy, with its primary goal of reducing diarrhea-associated mortality among infants and young children in developing countries. WHO expanded the previous cholera-focused unit into one that addressed all diarrheal diseases, and uniquely combined support to research and to national CDD Programs. We describe the history of the Program, summarize the results of the research it supported, and illustrate the outcome of the Program's control efforts at country and global levels. We then relate the subsequent evolution of the Program to an approach that was more technically broad and programmatically narrow and describe how this affected diarrheal diseases-related activities globally and in countries.

MeSH terms

  • Child, Preschool
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Diarrhea / mortality
  • Diarrhea / prevention & control*
  • Goals
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Program Development*
  • World Health Organization / organization & administration*