oa South African Family Practice - Evaluation of the use of oral rehydration therapy in the management of diarrhoea among children under 5 : knowledge attitudes and practices of mothers/caregivers : research

Volume 58, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Dehydration from diarrhoea and vomiting has remained a threat to the lives of children under 5 years old especially in developing countries. Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) administered by caregivers is lifesaving but evidence shows unsatisfactory implementation of this.

A descriptive cross-sectional study involving 377 systematically recruited caregivers was conducted. A face to face questionnaire was used to measure the level of ORT knowledge, attitudes, practices, and responses to diarrhoea and vomiting in children. The data collected were analysed by the use of descriptive statistics, the chi-square test, and Fisher's exact test. The main outcome measures were the level of ORT knowledge of mothers/caregivers, attitudes, practices, and responses to diarrhoea.
In total, 88.3% of caregivers were biological mothers. Only 53.3% were aware of the importance of initiating ORT at home with the onset of diarrhoea, and 4% administered traditional remedies. Some 66% of the caregivers had used ORT, 18 3% knew that it prevents dehydration, and 33.7% were able to prepare a correct recipe. Knowledge and attitudes correlated with the ability to initiate ORT at home (p = 0.0000).
Unsatisfactory uptake of ORT appears to be due to caregivers' lack of knowledge concerning the perfect mixture, function, and appropriate quantity of ORT administration. Mothers have heard of ORT, but some still believe that traditional remedies are better in treating diarrhoea.

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