Title

The effective case management of childhood diarrhoea with oral rehydration therapy in the kingdom of Lesotho

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

12-1-1990

Journal

International Journal of Epidemiology

Volume

19

Issue

4

DOI

10.1093/ije/19.4.1066

Abstract

In Lesotho prior to 1986, diarrhoea was the leading cause of hospital mortality in children < 5 years of age. At the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital, diarrhoee-related admissions as a proportion of all admissions in children < 5 years of age declined from 23% in the year prior to the opening of the Oral Rehydration Theraphy Unit (ORTU) to 13% in the first nine months of 1987 (p<0.05). In addition, the case-fatality ratio of children treated in the ORTU declined from 1.4% in the first quarter of 1986 to zero in the second and third quarters of 1987 (p<0.05). In a case-control study conducted to identify reasons for children failing ORTU treatment, factors associated with an increased risk of hospitalization included male gender (odds ratio [OR] = 4.9; 95% Confidence limits [CL] = 2.0, 11.9), fever ≫38.5°C (OR = 2.0; CL = 1.2, 3.3), undernutrition (OR = 3.2; CL = 1.1, 9,4), and moderate dehydration (OR= 2.3; CL = 1.2, 4.4) or severe dehydration (OR= 12.1; CL=3.8, 38.5). Breastfed children < 2 years of age were at decreased risk of hospitalization (OR = 0.4; CL = 0.2, 0.7). At this major hospital in Lesotho, the standardization of outpatient treatment for diarrhoea with oral rehydration salts (ORS) in the context of an ORTU resulted in a marked decrease in diarrhoea-associated hospitalization and deaths in children < 5 years of age. © 1990 International Epidemiological Association.

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