The Bangladesh Prime Minister addressed members of the diplomatic corps and the representatives of international organizations and nongovernmental organizations. The occasion was the 25th anniversary of the implementation of oral rehydration therapy for diarrhea in Bangladesh. The Cholera Research Laboratory in Bangladesh developed the first solutions. The institution thereafter became the International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR,B). ORS, or oral rehydration saline solution, has contributed to the prevention of many infant deaths in developing countries from diarrhea. About 1 million lives have been saved yearly. The development of ORS proved that a research facility could provide high quality, effective, inexpensive treatment. Research is still continuing to improve the effectiveness of ORS. Nongovernmental groups have played an important role in ORS treatment by popularizing it's use in Bangladesh. World public relations on ORS have been accomplished by WHO and UNICEF. Bangladesh has emphasized the health sector and is committed to an effective program of health care delivery. Government funding for ICDDR,B and other research groups has been increased. Immunization has increased from 6% in 1975 to 77% in 1993. 85% of rural households have access to a safe water supply in tubewells within a radius of 150 m. Contraceptive use is about 40%. Future government action will be directed to the development of low cost methods of health preservation. The hope is that ICDDR,B will continue with its health and family planning research activities and with improved health technology. The expectation is that the international community will continue to support ICDDR,B. Thanks were given to the many scientists and others involved in ORS development. Other participants were appreciated for their role in drawing attention to the importance of the role of health research in global development.
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