Home management of childhood diarrhoea: Need to intensify campaign
A review of home management of childhood diarrhea in under-five children among 203 Nigerian mothers was carried out over a period of 3 months in order to ascertain how effectively they manage their children with diarrhea outside a hospital setup (infrastructural health facility). Mothers whose children had diarrhea, with or without other symptoms, and presented at the Children’s Out Patient unit (CHOP), of the UNTH over the study period were consecutively interviewed through a questionnaire designed for the study. The questionnaires were designed and administered by the authors. There were 30 mothers in social class 1; 59 in social class 2; 52 in social class 3; 13 in social class 4, and 7 mothers in social class 5. Information was obtained on the method of detection, causes of diarrhea, and treatment including their knowledge and use of oral rehydration salts with or without anti diarrheal and antibacterial agents. Out of the 203 mothers interviewed, 140 (71%) correctly defined diarrhea. 112 (55.2%) could identify correct causes of childhood diarrhea. Only 80 (39.4%) could correctly manage diarrhea at home. About 76% (154 mothers) knew that they should use an oral rehydration salt; of this number, 56 (27.6%) could correctly prepare SSS, while 29 (14.3%) could do the same for the UNICEF ORS. In addition, anti bacterial, anti-diarrheal, and/or herbal preparations were used by 38 (18.7%) of the mothers. The level of knowledge of oral rehydration therapy has dropped in our locality since its inception in the early 1990s. There is need to intensify maternal education in this area since we now have a new generation of mothers who were not there during the inception of the program.