Health care seeking for childhood diarrhea in developing countries: Evidence from seven sites in Africa and Asia

Dilruba Nasrin, Yukun Wu, William C. Blackwelder, Tamer H. Farag, Debasish Saha, Samba O. Sow, Pedro L. Alonso, Robert F. Breiman, Dipika Sur, Abu S.G. Faruque, Anita K.M. Zaidi, Kousick Biswas, Anna Maria Van Eijk, Damian G. Walker, Myron M. Levine, Karen L. Kotloff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


We performed serial Health Care Utilization and Attitudes Surveys (HUASs) among caretakers of children ages 0-59 months randomly selected from demographically defined populations participating in the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS), a case-control study of moderate-to-severe diarrhea (MSD) in seven developing countries. The surveys aimed to estimate the proportion of children withMSD who would present to sentinel health centers (SHCs) where GEMS case recruitment would occur and provide a basis for adjusting disease incidence rates to include cases not seen at the SHCs. The proportion of children at each site reported to have had an incident episode of MSD during the 7 days preceding the survey ranged from 0.7% to 4.4% for infants (0-11 months of age), from 0.4% to 4.7% for toddlers (12-23 months of age), and from 0.3% to 2.4% for preschoolers (24-59 months of age). The proportion of MSD episodes at each site taken to an SHC within 7 days of diarrhea onset was 15-56%, 17-64%, and 7-33%in the three age strata, respectively. High cost of care and insufficient knowledge about danger signs were associated with lack of any care-seeking outside the home. Most children were not offered recommended fluids and continuing feeds at home. We have shown the utility of serial HUASs as a tool for optimizing operational and methodological issues related to the performance of a large casecontrol study and deriving population-based incidence rates of MSD. Moreover, the surveys suggest key targets for educational interventions that might improve the outcome of diarrheal diseases in low-resource settings. .

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-12
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue numberSUPPL.1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013


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