INTRODUCTION: This study assessed the prevalence of childhood diarrhea disease and identified associated factors of oral rehydration therapy (ORT) use in treating childhood diarrhoea in a rural Nigerian community.
METHODS: A cross-sectional study design involving caregivers of under-five children with at least one episode of diarrhea in the past six months in Ejigbo, Osun-State, Nigeria was conducted using a multistage sampling method. Pretested interviewer-administered, semi-structured questionnaire was used for data collection.
RESULTS: A total of 410 caregivers were included in the study. Two hundred and fifty-two (61.5%) of under-five children in the study area had at least one episode of diarrhea within six months preceding the survey. Only 50 (13.8%) of all the participants who were aware of ORT had good knowledge, but 312 (76.1%) of them had a positive attitude to its use. ORT was utilized in treating only 145 (57.5%) of childhood-diarrhea cases. Determinants of ORT uptake in the study population included gender (OR=0.470, 95% CI=1.160-3.110), educational status (OR=0.620, 95% CI=2.300-4.120), knowledge on availability of ORT (OR=3.010, 95% CI=1.820-3.990) and overall ORT knowledge (OR=0.640, 95% CI=0.110-0.640).
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION: The burden of childhood diarrhea disease is high in the study population. Authors advocate for improvement in the general socio-economic wellbeing of rural dwellers for this burden to be lessened. There is also an urgent need for a renewed awareness campaign on proper use of ORT in treating childhood diarrhea diseases in rural Nigeria.