UNICEF oral rehydration salt mixture, 1981.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Manufactured in Germany, this mixture is used to combat diarrhoea dehydration. Diseases like typhoid and cholera cause dehydration when the body loses natural fluids, minerals and salt, endangering life. In the 1970s an estimated four million children died this way. In 1974 the World Health Organisation set up a diarrhoeal disease control programme, involving the use of oral rehydration sachets like this. They are taken orally, mixed with water, and contain minerals such as sodium, potasium and sugar. However, lack of clean water for mixing is often a problem.