A field trial of wheat-based oral rehydration solution among Afghan refugee children

Acta Paediatr. 1996 Feb;85(2):151-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.1996.tb13982.x.


A total of 326 Afghan children aged between 6 months and 5 years with uncomplicated nondysenteric diarrhea for the previous 24 h to 5 days were treated at home by their mothers with either wheat-salt solution (WSS) or World Health Organization recommended glucose-oral rehydration salts (G-ORS). For 7 consecutive days the children were examined in the household and the mothers interviewed to assess the progress, feeding practices, and perception of treatment efficacy. Children treated with WSS recovered significantly earlier; the mean duration on treatment was 4.0 days (SD 1.7 days) on WSS compared to 6.4 days (SD 1.7 days) on G-ORS. By the second day of treatment, significantly more mothers using WSS (56%) reported that their children had formed stools versus 11% of their G-ORS counterparts; the mean stool frequency after 2 days was also significantly reduced; 3 stools day-1 (SD 2.1) on WSS versus 5 (SD 2.9) on G-ORS. The cereal-based solution was not confused with normal food and led to better feeding patterns. By day 2, 74% of the mothers using WSS had resumed their normal feeding frequencies as opposed to 33% of G-ORS mothers. On recovery the WSS group had gained significantly more weight; the WSS group gained 169 g (SD 142 g) while the G-ORS group lost 150 g (SD 174g). This study suggests by subjective and objective measures that WSS could be considered as an effective home fluid for the first-line treatment of diarrhea.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Afghanistan
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diarrhea / therapy*
  • Edible Grain
  • Female
  • Fluid Therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nutrition Disorders
  • Refugees*
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triticum*
  • Weight Gain