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Original Research

Awareness regarding diarrhea, its prevention, and oral rehydration therapy among mothers of under-five children in urban slums of Bengaluru

Amitkumar Rao, Jyothi Jadhav, T S Ranganath, Lilian Dsouza.

Background: Diarrhea is the second most important cause of under-five mortality globally in spite of it being easily preventable and curable. This is largely due to the lack of knowledge among mothers regarding cost-effective interventions tackling diarrheal diseases.

Objective: To assess the awareness about diarrhea, its prevention, and oral rehydration therapy (ORT) among mothers of under-five children in urban slums of Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.

Materials and Methods: It was a cross-sectional study conducted among 280 mothers of under-five children in urban slums of Bengaluru. The data were collected using pretested semi-structured questionnaire administered to eligible mothers using personal interview method. Descriptive statistics and tests of significance were used in analysis of data using Epi Info software, version 7.

Result: Of 280 mothers interviewed, less than one-fourth (24.3%) knew the correct meaning of diarrhea, with three-fourths (73.8%) of them not knowing the correct cause of diarrhea. Only 44.3% mothers knew that diarrhea can be prevented. Majority (88.7%) did not know to look for signs of dehydration. Less than half of the mothers had heard of ORT. By using X2-test, preparation of oral rehydration salts (ORS) was found to be associated with the education of the mother (p = 0.04) proving that knowledge is better among those mothers with formal education. No association was found between ORS preparation and age of the mother (p = 0.229), religion (p = 0.342), and gender of the child (p = 0.061).

Conclusion: Awareness regarding diarrhea, its prevention, and ORT was found to be lacking among mothers in urban slums.

Key words: Diarrhea, oral rehydration therapy, under-five mortality

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