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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 63-69

Awareness and practice of zinc therapy in diarrheal management among under-five caregivers in Enugu State, Nigeria

Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Enugu State, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Ikechukwu E Ezeagu
Department of Medical Biochemistry, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, P.O. Box 15676, Enugu, Enugu State.
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1110-1067.271082

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Background: Acute diarrhea remains one of the leading causes of under -five years of age (u-5) childhood deaths in Nigeria. Use of zinc (Zn) sulfate monohydrate with low-osmolality oral rehydration solution (ORS) therapy reduces both the duration and severity of the diarrhea episodes in children. There has been little progress in the widespread introduction and adoption of ORS plus Zn sulfate (ORS+Zn) therapy in Nigeria. Aims and Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the level of awareness and practice of ORS+Zn therapy among u-5 caregivers. Materials and Methods: Two local government areas, each representing urban and rural settings, were randomly selected. Awareness and practice of ORS+Zn therapy by 386 caregivers was assessed using a semi-structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. Frequency and percentages were used for categorical data and the influence of sociodemography was analyzed by using Pearson’s correlation method. Results: Awareness and practice of Zn therapy was higher among the caregivers in the urban setting, who seems to be more exposed to information on the efficacy of ORS+Zn therapy (p < 0.05). Caregivers of u-5 children living in the rural settings were deficient in information on the use of ORS and Zn salts in the management of child diarrhea. In summary, of the 386 caregivers, 123 (62%) indicated awareness of Zn salt, and of these only 39 (10%) practiced Zn salt treatment. Level of education seems to influence awareness and practice positively in the urban setting (p < 0.05). Economic status underscored by employment type, clinic visits, and health campaigns influenced positively the adoption of ORS+Zn therapy in the rural and urban communities (p < 0.05). Tertiary education, which is the highest level of education, showed a positive association with awareness and practice of ORS+Zn treatment in both study areas (p < 0.05). One hundred and ninety-nine caregivers (52%) of all the respondents still preferred to treat child diarrhea with ORS with antibiotics adjuvant. Conclusion: Practice of ORS+Zn therapy is low and seems to be influenced by level of education, awareness, and location and availability. Advocacy and sensitization programs should be intensified, and intake of food rich in Zn and Zn supplement should be promoted in infant-feeding practices.

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