Cover Image
close this bookAdvising Mothers on Management of Diarrhoea in the Home - A Guide for Health Workers (WHO, 1993, 18 p.)
close this folderPractising the steps
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentStep 1: Ask the questions
View the documentStep 2: Praise and encourage helpful behaviours
View the documentStep 3: Advise the mother what else to do
View the documentStep 4: Check the mother's understanding

Step 4: Check the mother's understanding

You have now learned how to:

Ask questions to find out what a mother has done for her child,

Praise and encourage her current correct practices, and

Advise her what else she needs to do (includes: correct harmful practices).

But how can you be certain that the mother has understood and can remember your advice?

Many health workers try to do this by asking the mother, "Do you understand?" Most mothers probably answer this question with "Yes," thinking they have in fact understood what was said. Unfortunately, you cannot judge from this answer exactly what the mother has understood.

The way to help you do this is to ask checking questions. Think about the exercise earlier in this session, where you changed closed (Yes/No) questions into open ones. A good checking question is an open question, phrased so that the mother must answer more than just "Yes" or "No". For instance, if you have just explained how to prepare ORS solution, you might ask the mother, "How will you prepare the ORS solution at home?"

However, sometimes you may get an incomplete answer to a checking question, even if the question is open. Then you will need to ask a follow-on checking question to see if the mother has really understood what has been taught. For example, if the mother answers, "I will mix the packet in water", you could ask, "How much water will you use? How will you measure it?"


This exercise is to be done in the form of a drill.

First checking question

Mother's response

Follow-on checking question

What will you do for the child's diarrhoea when you get home?

I will give him something to drink.

What will you give your child to eat?

Soft, mashed foods.

How will you make the ORS solution at home?

I will mix the contents of the packet with water.

How much ORS or other drinks will you give to your child?

One small cup.

How will you know if your child needs to come back to the health centre?

If he's not getting better.