KNOWLEDGE AND PRACTICES AMONGST HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS & CARE TAKERS REGARDING MANAGEMENT OF CHILDHOOD DIARRHOEA IN DEMONSTRATION DISTRICTS OF GUJARAT
Introduction:Diarrhoea Alleviation through Zinc and ORS Therapy (DAZT) project was started in 6 demonstration districtsof Gujarat in 2011. Rationale: In addition to poor feeding/hygiene practices of caretakers, inappropriate prescription from providers and inadequate use of Zinc-ORS are challenges in diarrhoea management. Objectives:To understand prescription practices for childhood diarrhoea, assess knowledge about zinc therapy among health care providers & caretakers in the government/private sectors &assess knowledge about additional information to be provided to caretakersamong health care providers& its practice among care takers. Materials & Methods:Information was collected onstructured questionnaires by interviews of 127care providers&43 care takersin 6 districts.In addition, case records were reviewed for 228 prescriptions – all from government sector. Data collected was entered and analyzedusing Excel. Results:Based on records/interviews, government functionaries dispensed ORS in 97%& zinc in 90% cases of diarrhoea while, private providers prescribed itin 79% &71% respectively. Antibiotics were prescribed in 24% & 59%, anti-amoebic in 20.2% &64.7% in public& private sectors respectively.Knowledge of dosage and duration of zinc therapy was better among public sector providers than private sector ones. Amongst caretakers, 74.4% gave correct dose of zinc to their children but was given for 14 days in 67.4% of cases; common reasons for non-compliance were“improved condition”&“no need to continue”. Foradditional information, such as advice on continued feeding, giving more than usual fluid,hand washing& when to return back to health facility, the responses were better for government providers than private ones. Knowledge about this additional information was also poor amongst care takers. Conclusions:For all the parameters studied, responses were better amongst government providers than those from private sector. Demand generation activities are also needed to improve practices amongst caretakers.