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Open Access Research article

Mothers’ beliefs and barriers about childhood diarrhea and its management in Morang district, Nepal

Mukhtar Ansari15*, Mohamed Izham Mohamed Ibrahim2, Mohamed Azmi Hassali1, P Ravi Shankar3, Arun Koirala4 and Noor Jang Thapa4

Author Affiliations

1 Discipline of Social and Administrative Pharmacy, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia, Penang, 11800, Malaysia

2 College of Pharmacy, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar

3 Department of Pharmacology, KIST Medical College, Lalitpur, Nepal

4 Social Action for Rural Health and Development of Nepal (SARHDON), Janapath-tole, Biratnagar, Morang, Nepal

5 Department of Pharmacology, Nobel Medical College Teaching Hospital, Biratnagar, Nepal

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BMC Research Notes 2012, 5:576  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-5-576

Published: 24 October 2012



In developing countries, mothers usually manage diarrhea at home with the pattern of management depending on perceived disease severity and beliefs. The study was carried out with the objective of determining mothers’ beliefs and barriers about diarrhea and its management.


Qualitative methods involving two focus group discussions and eight in-depth interviews were used to collect the data. The study was conducted at the following places: Tankisinuwari, Kanchanbari and Pokhariya of Morang district, Nepal during the months of February and March 2010. Purposive sampling method was adopted to recruit twenty mothers based on the inclusion criteria. A semi-structured interview guide was used to conduct the interviews. Written informed consent was obtained from all of the participants before conducting the interviews. The interviews were moderated by the main researcher with the support of an expert observer from Nobel Medical College. The interviews were recorded with the permission of the participants and notes were written by a pre trained note-taker. The recordings were transcribed verbatim. All the transcribed data was categorized and analyzed using thematic content analysis.


Twenty mothers participated in the interviews and most (80%) of them were not educated. About 75% of the mothers had a monthly income of up to 5000 Nepalese rupees (US$ 60.92). Although a majority of mothers believed diarrhea to be due to natural causes, there were also beliefs about supernatural origin of diarrhea. Thin watery diarrhea was considered as the most serious. There was diversity in mothers’ beliefs about foods/fluids and diarrhea management approaches. Similarly, several barriers were noted regarding diarrhea prevention and/or management such as financial weakness, lack of awareness, absence of education, distance from healthcare facilities and senior family members at home. The elderly compelled the mothers to visit traditional healers.


There were varied beliefs among the mothers about the types, causes and severity of diarrhea, classification of foods/fluids and beliefs and barriers about preventing or treating diarrhea.

Barriers; Beliefs; Childhood diarrhea; Management; Mothers; Nepal