Treatment of childhood diarrhea in rural Egypt

Ray Langsten, Kenneth Hill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Egypt National Control of Diarrheal Diseases Project, implemented between 1983 and 1991, is widely regarded as one of the most successful national oral rehydration programs. Data from a longitudinal household survey conducted in 1990-1991 in rural Egypt indicate substantial increases in both knowledge and use of oral rehydration salts during the 1980s. However, the same data show that treatment of acute diarrheal episodes is still far from optimal. In particular, the use of oral rehydration during diarrheal episodes is far from universal, the prescription of antibiotics is still too frequent, and antidiarrheal drugs of no therapeutic value are still widely used. Analysis of the factors associated with different treatment patterns shows that children with severe diarrhea, those aged 6-23 months and those from poor households were more likely to be given ORS; boys were somewhat less likely to receive ORS than girls, but mother's education showed no consistent effects. The type of treatment received is strongly influenced by the source of care. Government clinics are more likely than private physicians or pharmacies to prescribe ORS, whereas children taken to the latter two sources of care are more likely to be given antibiotics and antidiarrheals. To improve diarrhea treatment patterns in Egypt, not only must the public service educational campaign be reinstated and strengthened, but training programs must also be targeted at the treatment practices of private physicians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)989-1001
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1995


  • Egypt
  • diarrhea
  • oral rehydration
  • treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science

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