Oral Rehydration Therapy

Posted: 5 Feb 2012

See all articles by Nava Ashraf

Nava Ashraf

Harvard University - Business School (HBS)

Claire Qureshi

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: December 2, 2010


This case highlights the puzzlingly high rate of diarrhea-related child mortality in developing countries despite the existence of a simple, effective treatment: oral rehydration therapy (ORT). ORT treated extreme dehydration caused by diarrhea, which was a leading cause of death among young children in developing countries, particularly in Africa and Asia. Heralded in the 1970s as one of the most Important medical advancements of the 20th century, ORT contributed to a reduction in diarrhea-related child deaths from roughly 4.5 million in 1980 to 1.5 million in 2000. Yet for reasons unclear to the global public health community, the mortality rate stalled at around 1.5 million, where it remained in 2010. In presenting the problem of diarrhea-related death, the solution represented by ORT, and the various factors potentially influencing ORT utilization, the case allows students to analyze the possible causes of low ORT utilization and potential measures to address them.

Learning Objective: This case underscores the importance of understanding the end-user in achieving the promise of technological advancements in global health.

Suggested Citation

Ashraf, Nava and Qureshi, Claire, Oral Rehydration Therapy (December 2, 2010). Harvard Business School Marketing Unit case no. 911-035, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1998179

Nava Ashraf (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Business School (HBS) ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States
617-495-5058 (Phone)
617-496-4191 (Fax)

Claire Qureshi

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics