Since the 1980s, Dr. Olivier Fontaine has been a leading researcher and advocate of oral rehydration therapy.
Dr. Fontaine, who spent decades with the World Health Organization as an ORS and diarrheal disease expert before retiring in 2012, is an inspiration. And there is no bigger champion for oral rehydration therapy then he. In many of the numerous talks he has given on diarrheal diseases in the developing world, he frequently cites the impact this effective treatment has had.
In 1980, for instance, more than 4.6 million children died due to dehydration caused by diarrheal disease. In 2010, the child mortality rate had dropped to 800,000, thanks in a large part to greater access and knowledge of ORS. That’s an 82 percent reduction in child mortality rates -- an unprecedented success rate.
The truth is, when I began researching ORT, before Drip Drop was even born, Dr. Fontaine’s extensive research on the subject was a source of inspiration and guidance. As a leading researcher, Olivier uncovered that the lower osmolarity of a carbohydrate-electrolyte solution led to improved efficacy -- a principle used in Drip Drop’s formulation today.
Recently, I met with Dr. Fontaine, and it was truly an honor. The meeting provided a welcome opportunity to tap his knowledge about ORS, listen as he related stories about its use during crises, and discuss the future of ORS globally.
Through the years, Dr. Fontaine has been at the forefront of ORS’s use in the field. But he continues to realize the potential broader acceptance of ORS could have worldwide. Today, for instance, diarrheal disease remains the No. 2 cause of child death globally, and 100 children succumb to diarrheal disease every hour.
When I founded Drip Drop, the success rate of ORS and the implications it had to improve the health of millions always factored into the broader, underlying mission of this company. It’s clear oral rehydration therapy is a simple, effective and affordable treatment for dehydration. But, as Dr. Fontaine noted, there’s still work to be done.
And at Drip Drop, we’re on board. Drip Drop has the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to introduce ORS to U.S. consumers who have likely never heard of the benefits of it. And according to Dr. Fontaine, that’s a critical step in the fight for an even broader application: The more people know about the science of ORS and its ability to treat dehydration, the more likely this extremely success treatment is to catch on a global scale.