Publication of the proceedings of this conference, held in Washington 7–10 June 1983, makes the important information presented therein available to those who could not attend. The need for the conference exemplifies the problems involved in technology transfer; it is a documentation of the difficulty in achieving general application of a tested and proven procedure which could save the lives of about five million children yearly.
The effectiveness of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) in the vast majority of cases of dehydrating diarrhea was clearly demonstrated in the early 1970s, and was recommended by WHO for the management of cholera and other acute diarrheas in 1970. In 1983, this conference was considered a necessary step to encourage its general acceptance. It was sponsored by AID, UNICEF, WHO and the International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR-B, where ORT was developed), with 550 attendees from 100 countries.