Diarrhea and pneumonia, the two leading killers among children across the globe, are being treated wrongly in rural parts of the country.
A professor at Duke University and lead author of the study, Manoj Mohanan said that medical practitioners typically fail to prescribe treatments like oral rehydration salts that can save lives. They prescribe treatment which includes unnecessary antibiotics or other potentially harmful drugs.
Both the diseases were found to be responsible for 24 percent of deaths among children aged 1 to 4 years, accounting for around 2 million deaths worldwide in 2011.
The study was conducted in Bihar, where the infant mortality rate was found to be 55 per 1000 live births, the highest in the country.
According to Mohanan, 80 percent medical providers in their study did not have a medical degree.
However, a large portion of India’s rural population receives medical care from such untrained providers.
Also, there have not been many studies which rigorously measure the gap between what providers know and what they do in practice.
The study included 340 health care providers. ``Vignette’’ interviews were conducted by the researchers to assess how they would diagnose and treat hypothetical case. After that, individuals who portrayed as patients presenting the same symptoms as in the interviews paid unaccounted visits. With the help of this strategy, the researchers measured the gap between what providers know and what they actually do, which was known as the ``know-do’’ gap.
The providers showed low levels of knowledge about diarrhea and pneumonia during interviews and performed even worse in practice. None of them prescribed the correct treatment. Instead, as many as 72 percent of providers gave antibiotics or potentially harmful treatment without ORS.
Image courtesy: Getty Images
News source: business-standard.com
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