Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Ike S Okosun



Objectives: Diarrheal disease is a global health challenge that assumes gigantic importance with regard to child health in developing countries like Pakistan. Prompt medical attention and proper use of Oral Re-hydration Therapy (ORT) by mothers helps prevent dehydration and secondary complications among affected children. However, ORT use among mothers in Pakistan is low. This study seeks to examine how various socio-demographic factors impact the use of ORT and dispensary treatment among mothers of children affected with diarrhea.

Methods:Data from Pakistan Demographic Health Survey (2012-2013) was used for the study. The study sample consisted of women aged 15-49 years old resident in Punjab region (N= 505) with children under five years old who had diarrhea within two weeks of the survey. Chi-square tests and logistic regression analyses were used to determine relationships between maternal socio-demographic characteristics and use of ORT and dispensary care. P-values

Results: After controlling for place of residence, educational level and frequency of watching television, caregivers whose children had fever with diarrheal episodes had nearly two-fold increased odds of using ORT treatment [OR= 1.9, (95% CI: 1.28-2.82)], compared to those whose children did not have fever. Similarly poor and middle class socioeconomic status (SES) participants had 3 times increased odds [OR= 2.76, [95% CI: 1.1 -6.89)] of using dispensary treatment when compared to upper class mothers. Place of residence was not a significant predictor of ORT or dispensary use.

Discussion: These findings are consistent with other studies that show that mothers’ socioeconomic status are a good indicator of their knowledge about ORT use, and health care seeking behavior. On the other hand, maternal place of residence was not a significant predictor of ORT use, or consultation at a dispensary, even though other studies have found significant associations.

Conclusion: Interventions aimed at improving low-income mothers’ knowledge about diarrhea management can include lay medical personnel, such as dispensers, who are often the easily accessible medical resource to this population. Therefore, dispensers should be provided with further training to increase their knowledge and skills in treating children with diarrhea. Future studies that are more rigorous should be conducted to examine this public health issue.