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Overcoming Barriers to Use of ORS to Treat Child Diarrhea: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial in Uganda

Colloquium | January 30 | 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. | 590L University Hall


Zachary Wagner-Rubin, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Stanford University

Public Health, School of


Diarrhea remains the second leading cause of death among children, although nearly all deaths could be prevented with the use of oral rehydration salts (ORS). There is little evidence demonstrating why ORS use remains low and what can be done to increase use. In this study, we conducted a field experiment designed to 1) measure the impact of several novel community health worker (CHW) interventions aimed at increasing ORS use and 2) isolate the role of two potentially important barriers to ORS use: price and inconvenience. We found that having CHWs switch to distributing ORS for free rather than charging led to sizable gains in ORS coverage and could reduce diarrhea mortality by about 20%. Inconvenience was not an important barrier.


healthpolicy_phd@berkeley.edu, 510-643-8571