In response to the high occurrence of diarrhea in Ethiopia, the Federal Ministry of Health employed an effective strategy that included administration of zinc together with oral rehydration salt to treat children suffered diarrhea since 2013. Nonetheless, information on zinc bundled with ORS uptake is limited and thus this study has examined zinc utilization among beneficiaries. A community based cross-sectional study was conducted among 422 households whose under-five- children (U5C) had diarrhea in Akaki sub city from February to March, 2016. Prior to selection of households, participants were identified through health facilities and were traced using their household number. Relevant socio-demographic and other important health information were collected from respective caretakers using a pre-tested structured questionnaire through interview. Data were then entered using Epi Info Version 3.5.4, exported and analyzed using SPSS version 20 software. Both bivariate and multivariate regression analyses were used to identify the factors related to zinc utilization and a p-value below 0.05 was considered as statistically significant. All recruited subjects participated in the study with 100% response rate. Of the 422 participants, 283 (67.1%) caretakers used zinc bundles with ORS when the under-five-child had diarrhea. The majority (82.2%) sought treatment from health centers though their major (80.90%) source for zinc was private pharmacies. Following zinc intake, diarrhea subsided within 1-3 days in most (76.3%) of them. About the same proportion of caretakers recommended the zinc for watery diarrhea and the vast majority (90.5%) were satisfied with zinc supplement. Caregivers' whose child diarrhea stopped were more likely (AOR=10.29; 95% CI=2.52-42.05) to use zinc while those whose child diarrhea stopped after six days (AOR=0.09; 95% CI=0.02-0.45) and had mucoid diarrhea (AOR=0.32; 95% CI=0.10-0.97) were less likely to give their children the zinc than their counterparts. The study thus revealed that slightly over two in three children were given diluted zinc and the major augmenting factors for the zinc bundled with ORS uptake were withholding to administer the full dose, stopping the drug when diarrhea improved and recommending zinc therapy. It is thus essential to consider the above determinants, avail the zinc in the government facilities, improve zinc bundled with ORS intake and ultimately reduce deaths emanating from diarrhea.
Key words: Diarrhea, Zinc utilization, determinants, cross sectional community based study, Ethiopia
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