What is cholera? A preliminary study on caretakers' knowledge in Bangladesh

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Background: Cholera has afflicted the Indian sub-continent for centuries, predominantly in West Bengal and modern-day Bangladesh. This preliminary study aims to understand the current level of knowledge of cholera in female Bangladeshi caretakers, which is important in the outcome of the disease and its spread. A pilot study was conducted among 85 women in Bangladesh using qualitative questionnaires to explore the ability of female caretakers in identifying cholera and its transmission.
Findings: The survey revealed that though all the female caretakers were aware of the term “cholera,” nearly a third ofthe respondents did not associate diarrhea with cholera or mentioned symptoms that could not be caused by cholera (29%). Approximately half of the respondents associated water with the cause of cholera (56%) and only 8% associated cholera with sanitation or hygiene. Shame and stigma (54%) were more commonly described than death (47%) as negative effects of cholera.
Conclusions: The results from this study are suggestive of a need for reformulation of cholera and diarrhea communication. Messaging should be based on signs of dehydration, foregoing the use of medical terminology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3
JournalJournal of Health Population and Nutrition
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 9 Feb 2016


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