oa South African Journal of Child Health - Drugs for diarrhoea? s - : hot topics

Volume 4, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1994-3032
  • E-ISSN: 1999-7671



After the large-scale introduction of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) in the early 1980s, it was hoped that we now had a simple, cost-effective management strategy that was implementable in primary care as well as at home and that would also solve the forbidding mortality rate from childhood diarrhoea in the developing world. This was premised on the fact that severe acute diarrhoea causes dehydration that can kill unless adequately managed, and the demonstration that providing extra water with sugar and salt can prevent and treat dehydration. ORT was therefore strongly promoted, and occasionally it was forgotten that oral rehydration solution (ORS) treats the water and electrolyte loss but not the diarrhoea, and that ORT certainly does not lessen the predisposition to and incidence of diarrhoea.

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