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The distribution of sucrose-electrolyte oral therapy packets (1 liter) by community-based workers in a rural Bangladesh population of 157,000 was evaluated. A similar population of 134,000 served as a comparison group. The locally-produced packets showed satisfactory chemical composition with a shelf-life of up to 3 months and a cost of U.S. $0.05. After 4 months the workers were distributing an average of 70 packets/1,000 population per month. Most patients used one packet for each episode of diarrhea; 13% of children used two packets, and 15% and 8% of adults used, respectively, two and three packets. The electrolyte composition of the oral fluids prepared by field workers and mothers showed substantial variation, but no hyperconcentrated solutions were noted. A comparison of the hospitalization rate from the two study areas suggested a 29% reduction in hospitalization for diarrhea during the 4 months of distribution.