Increased child mortality rate due to diarrhoea is worrying health stakeholders in Africa with a study by Amref Health Kenya indicating that disease contributes to 20 per cent of mortality among children below the age of five years in Kenya.

The study carried out in Narok by a team led by the Amref Health Africa Health Programme Director, Dr John Nduba shows that access to correct information and to Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) and zinc at community level remains a major bottleneck in treatment of diarrhoea.

A report presented at the conference yesterday shows 39 per cent of children with diarrhoea received ORS treatment and less than 1 per cent zinc yet 80 per cent of mothers knew about ORS.

The study also shows that 51.3 per cent of the community seek treatment immediately, 45.7 per cent seek treatment if diarrhoea persists while only 6.5 per cent seek treatment, if the stool is bloody.

Lack of access to correct information and ORS blamed on diarrhoea deaths

Dr John Nduba

The study recommends early management of childhood diarrhoea through breastfeeding, good hygiene practices and ORS and zinc supplementation to avoid severe illness and death.

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