Tukur Ismail*, Ahmed Abdulwahab, Emmanuel Sokpo and Mukhtar Salihu Anka


Background: The new Low-Osmolality Oral Rehydration Salts (lo-ORS) formulation and zinc supplementation has been proven to be very effective in the management of diarrhea and also reduce the duration of loose stool and vomiting by about 30 per cent, thereby reducing the severity of the disease. Objectives: This study intend to assess the knowledge and utilization of lo-ORS among caregivers in the northwestern Nigeria the study was conducted among multiple target groups. The primary target population for the study was eligible caregivers of children that were aged 0-59 months at the time of conducting the survey. Other target groups were facility health service providers, MNCH Coordinators at Local Government and State levels and influential community members and opinion leaders. Sampling: The sampling frame included all the facilities providing ANC services and households in the corresponding catchment areas of the facilities. The sampling methodology is described in the section below. Design: The study employed a quasi-experimental design consisting of both quantitative and qualitative approaches. Quantitative methodology was employed to determine Zinc and lo-ORS supplementation coverage in the focus States and to measure adherence among the target population. Setting Subject: The survey was conducted in four northern Nigerian states namely: Jigawa, Katsina, Zamfara and Yobe States with Benue State as a comparison State. Jigawa state has an estimated population of 5,162,340 spread across 287 wards in 27 LGAs. The state has a total of 667 health facilities with primary, secondary and tertiary levels of care. About 20% of its total estimated population is children aged 0-5 years. Healthcare in Jigawa state receives tremendous support from the government and development partners. Katsina state is the most populated of the four selected states (estimated at 6,916,641 in 2012). Result: Awareness of Zinc and lo-ORS was observed to be high above 60% among frontline health workers in all states surveyed except Yobe where lowest proportion (30%) of frontline health workers who reported to be aware of the need to use zinc and lo-ORS for diarrhea treatment while Awareness of the need to use both Zinc and lo-ORS for diarrhea treatment among caregivers was found to be low below 45% across the focus states. Conclusion: The level of awareness among frontline health workers did not translate to good knowledge of the use of zinc and lo-ORS in the management of diarrhea with respect to knowing the full benefits of zinc and lo-ORS combination in treating diarrhea as well knowing how to prescribe it. Therefore, a substantial effort should be focus on education of caregivers and frontline health workers on prevention of diarrhea and treatment of diarrhea.

Keywords: Zinc l-ORS, knowledge, utilization, caregivers Northwest Nigeria.

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