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Aarushi Nair, a Class VIII student from Delhi's Sardar Patel Vidyalaya, Gurgaon, has developed an idea that can save millions of children suffering from diarrhoea.

Sometime back when Aarushi read a report about diarrhoea killing some 4,00,000 children under the age of five in India, she wanted to do something about it. "I contacted Unicef and WHO and sought their help," Aarushi says. She then spoke to her teachers and family paediatrician. "Doctor uncle was a big help. I visited his clinic and spoke to him and realized I couldn't come up with any medicine. But I told him I would look at it from a fresh perspective," she says.

An effective way to combat diarrhoea is through ORS (oral rehydration salts). WHO distributes these packs all over the world. But the unavailability of potable water to administer ORS thwarts the whole process. Aarushi decided to focus her energies on this problem area. "I thought of designing a package that would include both clean water and ORS. I sat with my neighbour who is an engineer and created several computer models before zeroing in on a particular design. Then I created the first prototype - a recyclable tetra pack," Aarushi says.

The tetra pack can hold 350ml of safe drinking water and has a separate, empty slot to hold 50ml of medicinal fluid . It has a large, separate inlet that could be flipped open to add ORS. By shaking the pack, the salts are mixed with water. This way, a safe solution could be administered to children in the remotest corners of the country. Aarushi has already applied for a patent.

On May 7, she was presented an award by the International Telecommunication Union. Her school too nominated her design for CSIR National Innovation Award for School Children 2013. Next, she plans to tackle the midday meal scheme. "India's record in eradicating malnutrition is worse than 31 countries in sub-Saharan Africa . WHO has a pack of nutrients that can be added to our midday meals. I'm working on that," she says. "Some 12.5 crore children can benefit from it."

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