Health Care Utilization and Attitude Surveys Associated with the Global Enteric Multicenter Study (GEMS)
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Diarrhea causes 16% of all child deaths in Pakistan. We assessed patterns of healthcare use among caretakers of a randomly selected sample of 959 children ages 0–59 months in low-income periurban settlements of Karachi through a cross-sectional survey. A diarrheal episode was reported to have occurred in the previous 2 weeks among 298 (31.1%) children. Overall, 280 (80.3%) children sought care. Oral rehydration solution and zinc were used by 40.8% and 2%, respectively; 11% were admitted or received intravenous rehydration, and 29% sought care at health centers identified as sentinel centers for recruiting cases of diarrhea for a planned multicenter diarrheal etiology case-control study. Odds ratios for independent predictors of care-seeking behavior were lethargy, 4.14 (95% confidence interval = 1.45–11.77); fever, 2.67 (1.27–5.59); and stool frequency more than six per day, 2.29 (1.03–5.09). Perception of high cost of care and use of home antibiotics were associated with reduced care seeking: odds ratio = 0.28 (0.1–0.78) and 0.29 (0.11–0.82), respectively. There is a need for standardized, affordable, and accessible treatment of diarrhea as well as community education regarding appropriate care in areas with high diarrheal burden.

[open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's Re-use License which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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  • Received : 13 Dec 2012
  • Accepted : 30 Jan 2013
  • Published online : 10 Jul 2013

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