The study was a descriptive cross-sectional study carried out in Enugu North LGA, Enugu state, Nigeria in November, 2008. Ninety patent medicine vendors were studied using semi-structured interviewer administered questionnaires. Information on knowledge and management of diarrhea in under-fives was obtained. The patent medicine vendors had good knowledge (64.0%) of the types, causes, signs and effects of diarrhea but their knowledge on steps to prevent or improve diarrhea outcome was poor (33.3%). Their knowledge of therapeutic use of oral rehydration solution (ORS) and salt sugar solution (SSS) was also poor (46.9%). Though sixty-two (68.9%) respondents identified ORS as their first line treatment of diarrhea in children, nineteen (21.1%) of them do not stock ORS. Metronidazole is the drug most commonly used in management of childhood diarrhea. The knowledge of patent medicine vendors on the prevention of diarrhea in children is poor. There should be routine health education campaign on appropriate management of mild childhood diarrheal diseases.
Key words: Patent medicine vendors, Enugu North, diarrhea, children.
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