Knowledge and perception of mothers and caregivers on childhood diarrhoea and its management in Temeke Municipality, Tanzania
Diarrhoea is an increase in volume of stool or frequency of defecation. It is one of the most common clinical signs of gastrointestinal diseases, but also can reflect primary disorders outside of the digestive system. This cross-sectional descriptive survey was conducted in Temeke Municipality, Dar es Salaam over a 4-month period to investigate on knowledge and perception of mothers/caregivers of underfives on childhood diarrhoea. Specifically, the study focused on frequency of diarrhoeal episodes and their risk factors as well as effectiveness of traditional remedies used for its management prior to seeking medical attention. A semi-structured questionnaire was used for data collection, through which a total of 161 mothers were interviewed. Of those, 74 (46%) had female and 87 (54%) had male underfives with median age of 2-years. Frequency of diarrhoeal episodes was high among the underfives and was comparable between females and males (87 vs 74; P<0.05). Medicinal plants were the most common traditional remedies employed by majority (71%) of the interviewees, which have been purported to be effective in management of childhood diarrhoea. Guava (leaves and fruits) was the most commonly used remedy in the treatment of diarrhoea. Mothers’ knowledge on predisposing factors of childhood diarrhoea was poor, which was directly correlated with education level. Only about one-third of the respondents (31%) were aware of risk factors for childhood diarrhoea that cited poor sanitation and water as the main factors. Diarrhoeal episodes were perceived wrongly as normal growth stage and that were caused by several other ‘’illnesses’’. It is important that further studies on traditional remedies should be carried out to validate their usefulness in the treatment of childhood diarrhoea.