Diarrhoea, nutrition and oral rehydration therapy: awareness, attitude and practices among mothers of children under five years

Nayantara Rao Gandra, Dilnaaz Farooqui


Background: Lack of knowledge about the preventive and therapeutic measures pose a barrier in the management of diarrhoea in children.

Methods: This study was conducted to assess awareness and attitude among mothers of children <5 years, towards diarrhea, feeding practices during diarrhoea, awareness and use of oral rehydration therapy (ORT). A standard questionnaire including handwashing practice, sanitation, personal hygiene, feeding practice, knowledge about disease was the assessmetn tool.

Results: Of 300 mothers, 190 (62.60%) were in 20-30 years age group. Mean±SD age was 24.5±2.47 years. Literates were 78.67%; majority belonged to class III (37.69%) and IV (23.32%) socioeconomic class. Disease awareness was low (71.86%) and 68.03% were unaware of complications. Teething (32.64%), contaminated food and water (29.32%) were the main causes. Rice based food considered best (45.96%) followed by fruit juices (21.98%), boiled saboo daana (20.65%). Breast feed continued in 73.93%, solid food in 27.30%. Bottle feeding (92%) was preferred for top feeding and cleaning the bottle with boiling water was the most practiced (68.0%) method. Knowledge on oral rehydrating fluids was adequate (Home made salt and sugar solution (66.0%) and oral hydration solution (80.0%)); knowledge on correct preparation was inadequate. Not practicing proper hand wash (50.55%), wrong dilution (69.50%) and use of unsafe water (29.49%) were correctable factors. There was insufficient knowledge (89.50%) about quantity of fluid to be restored.

Conclusions: There is an urgent need to educate mothers on initial fluid replacement and hygienic practices to be followed during diarrhoea apart from improving handwashing practice, sanitation, feeding practice, knowledge about disease.



Awareness, Diarrhoea, Feeding practices, Hand washing, Oral rehydrating therapy

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