Page number not for citation purposes 1 Assessment of the household availability of oral rehydration salt in rural Botswana
Introduction: Diarrhea contributed for 17.6% of under-five deaths in Botswana. Oral rehydration salt (ORS) therapy has been the cornerstone in the control of morbidity and mortality secondary to diarrheal diseases. The study was aimed at assessing the household availability of ORS following the nationwide campaign of availing ORS at household level.
Methods: A cross sectional community based study was conducted in August 2012. EPI random walk method was used to identify households. Data was collected using interviewers' administered structured questionnaire. SPSS software was used in data entry and analysis.
Results: Oral Rehydration Salt (ORS) was available in 50.8% of the households with under-five children. Information on ORS is well disseminated whereas only three-fourth of informed participants had adequate knowledge of ORS preparation. The sources of information were predominantly the Child Welfare Clinic (88.8%). Being grandmother as a care taker was a negative predictor of household availability of ORS (AOR 0.25, 95% CI 0.09-0.69) while respondents who are knowledgeable about ORS preparation were more likely to have ORS available at home (AOR 1.92, 95% CI 1.10-3.34).
Conclusion: The campaign has brought a significant coverage in terms of availability of ORS. The health education and community sensitization efforts need to go beyond health facilities via other means like the media and community based approaches. Approaches aimed at improving the knowledge of care takers on the importance of ORS, its preparation, correct use and restocking are of paramount importance. Availing community based outlet for ORS is an alternative to enhance accessibility.
Key words: Oral, Rehydration, Salt, ORS, availability, Botswana