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J Family Community Med. 2004 Jan;11(1):35-8.

Analysis of diarrhea episodes in children reported at a primary health care center in abha city in the year 2002.

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Assir Central Hospital, Abha, Saudi Arabia.



To determine the incidence, characteristics and the different factors associated with diarrhea events reported at the Primary Health Care (PHC) level in children under five years of age.


All reported cases of diarrhea in children under 5 in the primary health care (PHC) center of Wasat Abha, Abha city during the year 2002. The medical records of patients were reviewed for name, sex, date, duration of diarrhea and character of stool, type of feeding, degree of dehydration, the treatment received and the outcome.


The overall incidence /child/year 2002 was 1.2 episodes. The total number of diarrhea episodes in that age group was 573 cases giving an incidence rate of 9.9% for the year 2002. Two thirds of the episodes of diarrhea (64.6%) occurred in females, and 60.9% of the episodes affected 7-12-month olds. The majority of diarrhea episodes (89.4%) lasted less than 7 days and only 3.7% of cases were moderately dehydrated. Ninety four percent of the cases improved and only 1.7 % were admitted to the hospital.


The incidence of diarrhea episodes in the under fives in the year 2002 was lower than the national rate reported in 1993. Female children had about twice the incidence of diarrhea in male children and the highest incidence was observed in the 7-12-month olds. The majority of cases were acute. It is recommended that studies on the incidence of diarrhea in all PHC centers be done in order to monitor the progress of diarrhea in children and implement suitable preventive measures.


Children; Incidence; Primary Health Care; diarrhea


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