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Knowledge, attitudes and practices of mothers and health workers in relation to the use of sugar and salt solution in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe



Knowledge, attitudes and practices of mothers and health workers in relation to the use of sugar and salt solution in Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe



Central African Journal of Medicine 39(5): 95-102



A study was conducted March-April 1992 in the rural, urban, and farming areas of Masvingo Province, Zimbabwe, to assess the knowledge, attitudes, and practices of mothers and health workers on the use of sugar-salt oral rehydration solution. Twenty mothers from each area were also asked to prepare the sugar-salt solution, with the solutions analyzed for sodium and sucrose content. 257/300 mothers knew of the solution. Of these, 58% from rural, 40% from urban, and 63% from farming areas reported giving sugar-salt solution as the first step in managing diarrhea. Although unsure about the exact amounts of sugar-salt solution to give a sick child, 60% of mothers from rural areas, 72% from urban areas, and 77% from farming areas reported the routine administration of an entire 750 ml bottle of solution daily to their sick children. The solution was most commonly administered after every loose stool by 30% of mothers from rural areas, 35% from urban areas, and 54% from farming areas. The majority of mothers were competent in preparing the solution, but the mean sodium concentration of the solutions prepared by mothers in the rural, urban, and farming areas were 20.56 mmol/liter, 19.76 mmol/liter, and 39.62 mmol/liter, respectively, significantly lower than the Zimbabwe Ministry of Health's recommended standard safe range of 50-80 mmol/liter. The mean sucrose concentrations for the same solutions, however, were within the safe range of the ministry's recommended standard. It was also observed that the majority of mothers did not appreciate the 750 ml bottle as a measuring vessel, but used it for storage purposes. Furthermore, only 25 of the 40 health workers from the three areas had any formal training on diarrhea. The majority of untrained workers were from the rural areas.

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Accession: 046508632

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