Exploring knowledge, attitudes and practice of parents/guardians on home management of diarrhoea in children less than five years in Ekwendeni

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
This is a descriptive cross sectional study done to explore knowledge, attitude and practice of parents or guardians on home management of childhood diarrhoea. A semi structured questionnaire was used to interview parents or guardians of children less than five years old who presented to Ekwendeni Mission Hospital for the treatment of childhood diarrhoea and those who visited the underfive’s clinic for growth monitoring and immunizations. The specific objectives for the study were to assess knowledge of parents/guardians on the four basic rules of home management of childhood diarrhoea, to determine the attitude of parents/guardians on modern management of childhood diarrhoea and to find out home care practices of parents/guardians in the treatment of childhood diarrhoea before taking the child to the health facility. The study was conducted at Ekwendeni Mission Hospital in Mzimba District and the sample was drawn from parents or guardians of children aged five years or less who presented to the hospital’s outpatient department with a complaint of diarhoea and those who came to under five’s clinic for growth monitoring and immunizations. The study topic was chosen because it is one of the major concerns of the WHO in the reduction of deaths among children under the age of 5 years since diarrhoea accounts to 16% of all childhood death worldwide (WHO, 2010). Children from developing countries (including Malawi) are the worst hit as diarrhoeal diseases account for an estimated 17.5-21% of causes of death in children less than five years of age (WHO, 2010). However, a few studies have explored issues related knowledge, attitude and practice on management of childhood diarrhoea in Malawi. In addition, the results from the demographic and health surveys in Malawi do not give adequate information on the four rules of managing diarrhoea in children at home. This means that these demographic survey reports do not provide clear evidence on people’s attitude towards modern treatment of diarrhoea. Information from the current study will enable health workers to determine whether information given to parents and guardians on home management of childhood diarrhoea is adequate and if the information given has any impact on the home care practices in the communities. Two sampling methods were used in the selection of participants in this study. A consecutive sampling technique was used in selection of parents or guardians of children with diarrhoea and a random sampling technique was used to select parents or guardians of children who attended the underfive’s clinic at Ekwendeni Mission Hospital. A total of 327 parents or guardians were interviewed using a carefully designed semi structured questionnaire. Among the 327 respondents, 100 (30.6%) were parents/guardians of children who presented with diarrhoea at the time of data collection. Two data collectors administered a questionnaire to respondents at the hospital’s outpatient department from 12th December 2013 to 14th February 2014. Data was coded manually and entered into the computer. Analysis was done using Epi info version 7, a statistical package recommended for health related research. Presentation of results was done using tables and figures. The results have indicated that parents or guardians had partial knowledge about the four rules in home management of childhood diarrhoea. Knowledge about giving more fluids including oral rehydration solution (ORS) was better than knowledge about continued feeding and zinc. Most of the respondents had a positive attitude towards modern management of childhood diarrhoea but lack of resources and lack of knowledge about diarrhoea were the main barriers that affected the recommended home care practices of diarrhoea. It is recommended that health workers should give full information about diarrhoea and its management in order to improve home care practices for childhood diarrhoea.
Research Subject Categories::Child Health Nursing