Background: Diarrhea's impact on childhood morbidity can be reduced by administering oral rehydration solution (ORS) with zinc; challenges to wider use are changing health-seeking behavior and ensuring access.
Methods: We conducted a randomized controlled trial to increase ORS plus zinc uptake in rural Myanmar. Village tracts, matched in 52 pairs, were randomized to standard ORS access vs. a social franchising program training community educators and supplying ORS plus zinc.
Results: Intervention and control communities were comparable on demographics, prevalence of diarrhea and previous use of ORS. One year after randomization, ORS plus zinc use was 13.7% in the most recent case of diarrhea in intervention households compared with 1.8% in control households (p < 0.001) (N = 3605). A significant increase in ORS plus zinc use was noted in the intervention (p = 0.044) but not in the control (p = 0.315) group.
Conclusions: Social franchising increased optimal treatment of childhood diarrhea in rural Myanmar. Scale-up stands to reduce morbidity among children in similar settings.
Trial registration: Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN73606238.
Keywords: Myanmar; cluster randomized trial; diarrhea; oral rehydration solution; zinc.
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