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Knowledge and practice of mothers/care-takers towards diarrhoea and its treatment in rural communities in Ethiopia

Knowledge and practice of mothers/care-takers towards diarrhoea and its treatment in rural communities in Ethiopia

Ethiopian Medical Journal 29(4): 213-224

Diarrhoeal diseases are major causes of childhood morbidity and mortality in developing countries. Knowledge and practices of mothers or other care-takers of children are important determinants of the occurrence or outcome of diarrhoeal diseases. Base-line information on these variables is also needed for developing health education programmes and for formulating national policy on home fluid therapy. This study was conducted with the objectives of assessing the knowledge and practice of mothers and other caretakers of children towards diarrhoeal diseases and the sociodemographic correlates of adequate knowledge and practice. A study was conducted in the rural North, South, East and West Shewa Administrative Regions in April, 1990. A two-stage cluster sampling proportionate to size was used to select a total of 750 mothers or other caretakers. These were interviewed by trained and supervised health workers who used a pretested questionnaire. The three major ethnic groups were Oromo, Guragie and Hadya. Of the total respondents, 79.3% were illiterate, 78.5% got their water from unprotected sources, 88.9% had no latrines, 80.4% had no access to mass media and 7.1% spent more than 2 hours to reach to the nearest health facilities. Only 2.6% and 5.7% of mothers had adequate knowledge and practice on diarrhoea or its treatment, respectively. Age and educational level of mothers or other caretakers were found to be positively associated with adequate knowledge and practice towards diarrhoea and its treatment. The study clearly indicated that health education messages have not been effectively disseminated to the rural population. It is, therefore, strongly recommended that the Diarrhoeal Diseases Control Programme strengthens its communication activities through increasing persuasion of health workers who could serve as effective means of reaching the population who have access to health services.

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Accession: 040541806

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PMID: 1954955

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