Dehydration resulting from diarrhoea remains a significant cause of death for young children in developing countries such as Indonesia. Although Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) is effective in preventing and treating dehydration, its use in home treatment is not widespread. This study sought to assess whether mothers’ understanding of diarrhoea-related dehydration influenced their use of ORS in home treatment.
One hundred mothers of children under the age of five years in rural Indonesia were surveyed using a structured questionnaire, administered in an interview format in their homes. Only 38 (38%) of the mothers surveyed could identify two or more correct signs of dehydration. Significant relationship was found between maternal knowledge of correct signs of dehydration and the use of ORS in home treatment (OR 3.36, 95% CI 1.24, 10.63). Resulting recommendations include improved health education programming for mothers of young children, as well as future programme evaluation and intervention studies.