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Uses of formal and informal knowledge in the comprehension of instructions for oral rehydration therapy in Kenya.
Social Science and Medicine. 1987; 25(11):1225-34.Information for using pre-mixed oral rehydrations salts solutions which have been made widely available in rural Kenya is normally printed on the packets in English, along with illustrations, and is either read or explained to the purchaser. This report found that comprehension of these directions could be improved with simple changes in the printed text that would reinforce prior knowledge and increase the effectiveness of the illustrations. The larger issue at stake is the need to develop long term health care remedies such as education and literacy, as well as short term. Oral rehydration therapy (ORT) was adopted as a short term way of combatting infant mortality due to diarrhea with explanation of ORT becoming the responsibility of village level health workers. This study suggests, however, that education including literacy, knowledge of environmental and biological causes of disease, and the ability to comprehend treatments is essential to long term health care goals.