Use of oral rehydration therapy in the treatment of childhood diarrhoea in Douala, Cameroon|
Essomba, N.E.; Kedy Koum, D.C.; Adiogo, D.; Ngwe, M.I. & Coppieters, Y.
The use of oral rehydration solutions in our context remains limited. This
study was conducted to analyze the rate of this use in Douala, Cameroon
and thereby determine the factors associated with it.
A cross-sectional survey was administered to parents of children aged
five years and younger during a six-month study period. The studied
variables focused on the socio-demographic data of the population, data
on diarrhoea and its severity, data on oral rehydration salts (ORS), and
data related to other interventions for diarrhoea. The chi-square test was
used to qualify associations between variables, with the significance level
being set at 5%.
Overall, 672 people agreed to participate in the study. Among them,
418 (62.2%) correctly defined diarrhoea. When their children develop
diarrhoea, the majority of the parents (348, 51.8%) reported seeking
hospital assistance before any intervention, while 225 parents (33.5%)
preferred the use of ORS first. Four hundred seventy-five parents (70.7%)
had heard of ORS and among them 313 (65.9%) had actually given ORS to
their children as treatment during these children’s most recent episodes of
diarrhoea. Of the parents who had given their children ORS, 217 (69.3%)
knew how to prepare it, and 122 (39.0%) knew how to administer it. One
hundred thirty-five parents (20.1%) had administered metronidazole to
treat their children’s diarrhoea. The age of the children, the parents’ level
of education, and the number of children in the household significantly
influenced the use or non-use of ORS (respectively, p < 0.001, p = 0.003
and p < 0.0001). Rehydration was correctly identified by 234 parents
(34.8%) as the purpose of administering ORS.
The knowledge and the use of ORS in diarrhoea by the study sample was
insufficient. The role of ORS was poorly known. Awareness campaigns
can be carried out in order to improve the use of this effective intervention