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October 2021

J Diarrhoeal Dis Res. 1997 Sep; 15(3): 167-72.

Grandma ahead of her time: traditional ways of diarrhoea management in Lesotho.

Almroth S, Mohale M, Latham MC.

Population Council, South and East Asia Regional Office, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, India.

The study was aimed at learning about home management of infant and young child diarrhoea in Lesotho. Focus groups and individual interviews were conducted with mothers, grandmothers and nurses during two phases of field work in three geographically different locations. It was found that home management of diarrhoea traditionally had emphasised feeding. While medical advice in the past recommended that, except for breast feeding, food should be withheld during diarrhoea, mothers, grandmothers and even nurses had been reluctant to follow this advice. Mothers and grandmothers saw feeding during diarrhoea as so essential that they would make special efforts to feed a child with diarrhoea. Since most foods contain protein and carbohydrates which stimulate intestinal fluid absorption, feeding during diarrhoea, besides maintaining nutrition, will help maintain hydration. When such beneficial feeding practices are protected and supported there is less need to promote new practices and less risk of producing harmful effects.

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