Zinc is recommended for the treatment of acute diarrhea in children but the effect of its introduction on drug and oral rehydration solution use is unclear. Government care providers, private practitioners and community workers were trained to distribute zinc and oral rehydration solution to children seeking care for diarrhea. Periodic surveys showed that village-based workers became a common source of diarrhea treatment and private practitioners were used less. Zinc was used in approximately half of the episodes; the prescription and use rates of oral rehydration solution packets increased from 7% at baseline to 44.9% 6 months later. Reduction in use of drugs during diarrhea ranged from 34% for tablets to 64% for injections 6 months later. The cost of treatment to families declined significantly. These findings need confirmation in a randomized controlled trial.