Quality assurance of a diarrhoea control programme in northeastern Brazil

F. C. Barros, B. C. Forsberg, C. G. Victora, A. G K Maranhao, M. Stegeman, A. Gonzalez-Richmond, R. M. Martins, Z. A. Neumann, J. McAuliffe, J. A. Branco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study quality assurance methods were used in an evaluation of a programme for Control of Diarrhoeal Diseases (CDD) in northeastern Brazil. Seventy-eight randomly selected public primary care facilities in four states were assessed by trained surveyors. Problems observed in the facilities were lack of information on target population and coverage, lack of equipment to permit rehydration in the premises, and frequent unavailability of trained professionals. Health workers showed deficiencies in history taking, physical examination and knowledge on diarrhoea management. Many caretakers had difficulties in recalling information given to them in the health facilities. Eighty-four percent of the cases were treated with oral rehydration, but 90% were sent home immediately and not kept in the facilities to practice rehydration under guidance as recommended by the national CDD programme. An overuse of the medical treatment was observed. More than two-thirds of health professionals gave wrong indications for use of antibiotics. The study showed that oral rehydration therapy is well established in the government health services in the region but that the CDD programme needs to take early action to correct deficiencies in logistics, case management and health education.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-40
Number of pages6
JournalScandinavian Journal of Social Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Brazil
  • Developing countries
  • Diarrhoea
  • Quality assurance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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