Comparison of safety of glucose oral rehydration solution and maize oral rehydration therapy for home management of diarrhoea in Kenya

P. R. Kenya, J. N. Muttunga, H. Mwenesi, A. M. Molla, A. Bari, R. Juma, B. Were, Ayesha Molla, Prem Sharma

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Safety margins and variability in the composition of glucose and maize-based oral rehydration therapy (ORT) prepared by mothers in a rural district of Western Kenya, are reported here. In a 2-year longitudinal field study, packets containing glucose ORS and a home solution made with maize and table salts, were provided to the mothers of 6180 children in Kakamega District in two separate sub-locations. Experienced and trained field workers supported by community registered nurses provided training for the preparation and use of ORT during weekly visits to every household. On four occasions separated by 4-6 months, a 5 per cent random sampling was done of the home-prepared solutions actually used for the treatment of children with diarrhoea. The water used for preparing ORT was also sampled. Samples of 174 glucose-based ORT, 148 maize-salt ORT, and 201 samples of water were analysed. Only 2 per cent of the maize-based ORT were above 120 meq/1 sodium (i.e., the safe range of sodium concentration) compared to 17.8 per cent for glucose solutions (p < 0.001). Home water samples contained substantial amounts of salt, which could unpredictably affect the final composition of the ORT solutions. We conclude that maize-salt ORT had a better margin of safety than glucose-based ORS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-229
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Tropical Pediatrics
Volume47
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2001

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