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Acute Childhood Diarrhoea and Maternal Time Allocation in the Northern Central Sierra of Peru


Bentley, Margaret E.; Elder, John P.; Fukumoto, Mary N.; Stallings, Rebecca H.; Jacoby, Enrique; & Brown, Kenneth H. (1995). Acute Childhood Diarrhoea and Maternal Time Allocation in the Northern Central Sierra of Peru. Health Policy and Planning, 10(1), 60-70.


Interventions to improve child health depend, at least implicitly, on changing maternal knowledge and behaviour and a reallocation of maternal time. There have been few studies, however, of the time cost involved in the adoption of new health technologies and even fewer that examine changes in maternal activities in response to child illness. The present study examines maternal daytime activities and investigates changes that occur when children are ill. We examine the impact of acute childhood diarrhoea episodes on the activity patterns of the mother/caretaker in this setting.
The results show that mothers alter their usual activity patterns only slightly in response to acute diarrhoea episodes in their children. They continue to perform the same variety of activities as when the children are healthy, although they are more likely to perform them with the child ‘carried’ on their back. There is some indication that diarrhoea perceived to be more severe did result in the mother acting as caretaker more frequently. These findings have important implications for health interventions that depend on changing the amount of maternal or caretaker time spent for child health technologies, but the implications may vary depending on the reasons for the observed lack of changes in caretaker activities.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

Health Policy and Planning


Bentley, Margaret E.
Elder, John P.
Fukumoto, Mary N.
Stallings, Rebecca H.
Jacoby, Enrique
Brown, Kenneth H.