Operational issues and trends associated with the pilot introduction of zinc for childhood diarrhoea in Bougouni District, Mali

Peter J. Winch, Kate E. Gilroy, Seydou Doumbia, Amy E. Patterson, Zana Daou, Adama Diawara, Eric Swedberg, Robert E. Black, Olivier Fontaine, Fatoumata Bouaré, Seyon Coulibaly, Maureen Cunningham, Danaya Koné, Soungalo Koné, Fodié Maguiraga, Rita Nader, Drissa Ouattara, Amy E. Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Zinc for the treatment of childhood diarrhoea was introduced in a pilot area in southern Mali to prepare for a cluster-randomized effectiveness study and to inform policies on how to best introduce and promote zinc at the community level. Dispersible zinc tablets in 14-tablet blister packs were provided through community health centres and drug kits managed by community health workers (CHWs) in two health zones in Bougouni district, Mali. Village meetings and individual counselling provided by CHWs and head nurses at health centres were the principal channels of communication. A combination of methods were employed to (a) detect problems in communication about the benefits of zinc and its mode of administration; (b) identify and resolve obstacles to implementation of zinc through existing health services; and (c) describe household-level constraints to the adoption of appropriate home-management practices for diarrhoea, including administration of both zinc and oral rehydration solution (ORS). Population-based household surveys with caretakers of children sick in the previous two weeks were carried out before and four months after the introduction of zinc supplementation. Household follow-up visits with children receiving zinc from the health centres and CHWs were conducted on day 3 and 14 after treatment for a subsample of children. A qualitative process evaluation also was conducted to investigate operational issues. Preliminary evidence from this study suggests that the introduction of zinc does not reduce the use of ORS and may reduce inappropriate antibiotic use for childhood diarrhoea. Financial access to treatments, management of concurrent diarrhoea and fever, and high use of unauthorized drug vendors were identified as factors affecting the effectiveness of the intervention in this setting. The introduction of zinc, if not appropriately integrated with other disease-control strategies, has the potential to decrease the appropriate presumptive treatment of childhood malaria in children with diarrhoea and fever in malaria-endemic areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-163
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2008


  • Antibiotic use
  • Child health
  • Diarrhoea
  • Mali
  • Oral rehydration solutions
  • Oral rehydration therapy
  • Zinc
  • Zinc therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Operational issues and trends associated with the pilot introduction of zinc for childhood diarrhoea in Bougouni District, Mali'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this