Treatment of Diarrhoea (ORS)

Indicator Phrasing

% of children aged 8 - 59 months with diarrhoea in the last 2 weeks who were treated with correctly prepared ORS

Indicator Phrasing

INDICATOR PHRASING: % of children aged 8 - 59 months with diarrhoea in the last 2 weeks who were treated with correctly prepared ORS

What is its purpose?

The indicator measures the proportion of children with diarrhoea who were treated with ORS either purchased in a sachet or prepared at home according to local health professionals' recommendations (usually 6 level teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 level teaspoon of salt dissolved in 1 litre of drinking water).

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

Collect the following data by conducting individual interviews with a representative sample of the primary caregivers (mainly mothers).



(ask the questions only if the child had diarrhoea in the last two weeks – see guidance)


Q1: When [specify the child’s name] had diarrhoea, was s/he given any treatment?

A1: yes / no / does not remember


(ask the following question only if the previous answer is YES)


Q2: What kind of treatment did you provide for her/him?


1) homemade ORS

2) pre-packaged ORS        

3) other government-recommended homemade fluid        

4) local herbs        

5) other - specify: ........................................        

6) I don't remember


Q3: How did you prepare the ORS?

A3: ORS was prepared correctly / ORS was NOT prepared correctly


Q4: What kind of water did you use for preparing ORS?


1) water from tube well or borehole 

2) water from protected shallow well 

3) water from harvested rainwater 

4) water from piped water/public tap 

5) water from protected spring 

6) water from surface water source (river, stream, pond, puddles, unprotected spring) 

7) water from unprotected/ open shallow well

8) water from cart with small tank/drum

9) water from tanker-truck

10) other: ................................

11) does not remember


Count the number of respondents who prepared ORS correctly and used water from safe sources (answers 1 - 5 to Q4).


To calculate the indicator's value, divide the number of children who were treated with correctly prepared ORS using safe water by the total number of surveyed children. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage. 


Disaggregate by


Disaggregate the data by gender and children’s age groups.

Important Comments

1) Ensure that all data collectors have the same and correct understanding of what "ORS was prepared correctly" means –- ask local health facilities about how exactly they recommend local caregivers prepare the ORS. For homemade ORS, the most common recommendation is to dissolve 6 level teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 level teaspoon of salt in 1 litre of clean water (another option is to use ORS measuring spoons). For pre-packed ORS, follow the guidance provided on the packets. 


2) Assess whether local health facilities recommend a treatment other than ORS –- if so, specify this in the questionnaire. 


3) In the local context, ORS can have a different name – make sure that you use this name in your questionnaire. 


4) If you know that the vast majority of respondents use potable water, you do not need to ask the last question.


5) Adding too much sugar to ORS can make the diarrhoea worse; adding too much salt can be extremely harmful to the child (and the solution becomes unpalatable) - therefore always include Q3.


6) It is most likely that only some of the assessed children had diarrhoea, which means that you will only be able to ask these questions to a limited number of caregivers, resulting in lower representation – therefore, if you need the data to be precise, use a larger sample of respondents.

This guidance was prepared by Tearfund ©

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