Background: Diarrhea claims the lives of more children than malaria, HIV and measles combined. Prompt identification of symptoms of diarrhea by Caregivers and timely commencement of oral rehydration therapy using oral rehydration solution (ORS) or appropriate home available fluids are recommended corrective measures. Diarrhea is the second chief cause of mortality among under-five children in the world. This study was to ascertain the basic knowledge of childhood diarrhea and the health- seeking practices among caregivers of under-five children in Calabar- South, Calabar, Nigeria within the limits of available sanitation and public health-seeking facilities.
Materials and Methods: Six wards were chosen from the 12 wards in the study area by casting lot. Ten streets were randomly selected from each of the 6 wards. Eleven compounds were selected randomly per street to give a total of 660 compounds. A household with an under-five child or children was randomly selected per compound and therefore 660 Caregivers were enlisted on giving consent. Semi-structured questionnaires were used to collect data from respondents.
Results: In this study, 638 (98.2%) of respondents had good basic knowledge of childhood diarrhea in under-five children, 12 (1.8%) had fair basic knowledge, no group was rated as having poor basic knowledge. Occurrence of childhood diarrhea was marginally higher among respondents with good knowledge of diarrhea (50.3%) than respondents with fair basic knowledge, (50%). In practice during advent of childhood diarrhea, some caregivers chose to seek health-care from traditional healers 6.1% (19), churches 1.9% (6), pharmacies 16.9% (53), patent drug stores 18.8% (59), hospital, 14.3% (45), or self medication at home 42% (132).
Conclusion: Although most Caregivers possessed good basic knowledge of childhood diarrhea, there were constrains translating this knowledge into intervention practices due to inadequate presence. of social amenity framework in the study area. Government and non Governmental authorities should make provision of social amenities such as hospitals, pipe borne water, waste disposal facilities, power supply, water drainages etc, a priority. These findings might be attributed to inadequate availability of social amenity framework comprising primary healthcare centers and community pharmacy, pipe borne water system, water-closet toilet system, public garbage disposal dumps planned water drainage system etc, thus constraining translation of knowledge to diarrhea intervention practices.