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Horizons. 1983 Apr; 2(4):14-20.In Honduras and the Gambia the US Agency for International Development's (AID's) Bureau for Science and Technology and its contractors, working with the Ministry of Health in each country and drawing upon experts in health communications, anthropology, and behavioral psychology, have developed a health education methodology that integrates mass media and health providers. The project uses radio, graphics, and the training of village health workers to teach mothers how to treat and prevent diarrheal dehydration. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the AID assisted International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research in Bangladesh, have demonstrated that lost body fluid and electrolytes can be replaced with an orally administered solution. The treatment is known as ORT, oral rehydration therapy. AID efforts in Honduras and Gambia are showing that semi-literate persons, contacted primarily through the mass media, can be taught to mix and administer ORT. The campaign also includes a number of preventive measures. The Gambian government chose to use ORT packets prepared according to the WHO formula at health centers as a backup to the similar home mix solution. Honduras chose to package their own ORT salts, following the WHO formula, for use both at health centers and in the home. In Gambia the Ministry of Health created a national contest which kicked off with the distribution of 200,000 copies of a flyer carrying mixing instructions to nearly 2000 Gambian villages. Repeated radio announcements in Gambia's 2 major languages told mothers to gather and listen to contest instructions. The radio announcer led listeners through each panel of the color coded flyer which told them how to mix and administer ORT. 11,000 women attended the 72 village contests. Of the 6580 who entered the mixing competition, 1440 won a chance to compete and 1097 won prizes for correct mixing. After 8 months of campaign activities, the number of mothers who reported using a sugar-salt solution to treat their children's diarrhea rose from 3% to 48% (within the sample of some 750 households). The number of women who could recite the formula jumped from 1% to 64%. In Honduras a keynote poster for the campaign that featured a loving mother was distributed simultaneously with the airing of the 1st phase of the radio spots and programs. Within a year 93% of the mothers knew that the radio campaign was promoting Litrosol, the name of the locally packaged ORT salts; 71% could recite the radio jingle stressing the administration of liquid during diarrhea, and 42% knew that Litrosol prevented dehydration. 49% of all mothers in the sample had tried Litrosol at least once during the campaign.
Appropriate Technology for Health Newsletter. 1983; (12):1-22.Human nutrition is a dynamic science concerned with nutritional requirements, food composition, food consumption, food habits, the relationship between diet and health, and research in this field. This article touches on these aspects as they relate to prospective mothers and the care of their children, especially in the first 5 years of life, with a focus on developing countries. It deals with details of birth intervals, adequate breastfeeding, and adequate nutrition for both mother and child to help prevent malnutrition and deficiency diseases. Stress is laid on factors of children's growth such as body weight and height that primary health care workers must monitor while they work in the context of any culture. Programs for improved nutrition need to be drawn up with respect to the traditions and values of indigenous cultures. The article concludes with bibliographies dealing with 1) women, children and nutrition, 2) nutrition and primary health care, and 3) community development.