Summary: The prevalence of diarrhoea and especially the pattern of diarrhoea therapy in Saudi children under 5 years were studied as a part of the Maternal and Child Health Survey during 1991. A statistically representative sample of over 6300 mothers, from all over the country was interviewed by trained nurses. There were 3.8 episodes of diarrhoea per child under 5 per year. For treating diarrhoea, ORS, salt-sugar solution (SSS), other available solutions, intravenous fluid and various drugs were the therapeutic agents. In 73 per cent of cases ORS, nearly 3 per cent SSS, 33 per cent other solutions and in over 4 per cent intravenous fluid were used. Anti-diarrhoeal drugs and antibiotics were used in over 40 per cent of cases. Over 9 per cent of cases did not use any treatment. Young mothers used ORS at a higher rate (84 per cent) for their children compared to the average for all (73 per cent). Children of illiterate parents used ORS at a higher rate than children of literate parents. In urban area, the use-rate was lower (68 per cent) than in rural area (80 per cent). The regional use-rates were almost similar excepting a higher rate in the northern area. In over 87 per cent of cases, advice on diarrhoea therapy was obtained from government health centres (physicians/nurses), while only 3 per cent of the diarrhoea cases acquired information from national media. The overall use-rate of ORS was thus better than many other countries and there was a 25 per cent increase over the previous Saudi findings in 1987. The use-rate of drugs was similar to other countries. For improving and sustaining this high ORS use rate, and for lowering the percentage of drug-use, regular training of health personnel, health education of parents, and regular sensitization of the people through popular media are most essential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
- Applied Mathematics
- Infectious Diseases
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health