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Pilot testing of a parent record of child health
Last registered on December 21, 2018


Trial Information
General Information
Pilot testing of a parent record of child health
Initial registration date
December 17, 2018
Last updated
December 21, 2018 9:45 PM EST
Primary Investigator
University of Warwick
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
UN Habitat
PI Affiliation
University of Warwick
PI Affiliation
University of Warwick
Additional Trial Information
In development
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Diarrhoea is one of the two most significant causes of death in children under five (1,2), with inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) being a significant risk factor for diarrhoea. In several low and middle-income countries (LMICs), water and sanitation interventions are underway and planned to deal with inadequate water and sanitation provision. However, collecting relevant data on whether people are experiencing diarrhoea on a sufficient scale to monitor the effects of water and sanitation interventions has been proven difficult (3). The standard questions used, for example in the Demographic Health Surveys, enquire as to if a child has had diarrhoea over the past two weeks. These retrospective questions with a long recall period suffer from several biases, including recall bias, social desirability, and (in the case of longitudinal studies), the Hawthorne effect. We hypothesise that questioning if a child has had diarrhoea within the last 24 hours, covering the most immediate past period, would improve the accuracy of data collection. This would be combined with other measures, such as re-wording the question to find hidden cases of childhood diarrhoea.
Health questionnaires are increasingly being conducted through digital means, such as telecommunication. In this case, the respondent uses their mobile phone to answer the questionnaire. This method has two immediate advantages: it is not expensive in comparison to data collection in person, and it enables results to be collected from contrasting and moving populations. In this study, we wish to pilot the use of mobile phones to collect data from parents and carers covering child health, with particular emphasis on diarrhoea in one site in Mwanza, Tanzania. Our research questions include: 1) Does changing the wording to ask whether a child has had diarrhoea within the last 24 hours result in lower reported rates of diarrhoea (per day) than the two-week threshold?; 2) Does the use of a three-point scale including the Swahili word for ‘watery diarrhoea" result in lower reporting than the Swahili equivalent of ‘loose stools'?; 3) How does a three-level diarrhoea ‘scale' compare to the standard Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) two-level scale?; and 4) Does the existence of a small incentive influence survey response rates and bias?
In addition, we will harvest information on response rates over time and on peoples' attitude to the telephone questionnaire through qualitative work.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Langat, Philemon et al. 2018. "Pilot testing of a parent record of child health." AEA RCT Registry. December 21. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.3681-1.0.
Former Citation
Langat, Philemon et al. 2018. "Pilot testing of a parent record of child health." AEA RCT Registry. December 21. https://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/3681/history/39479.
Sponsors & Partners

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Experimental Details
We will be measuring diarrhoea prevalence in households using text messages surveys. Participants will be cross randomised into combinations of the following three conditions:
-No incentive OR TZS 1000 (GBP 0.40) incentive
-Two week recall period OR 24 hour recall period
-Standard diarrhoea measurement questions OR enhanced diarrhoea measurement questions

The standard diarrhoea measurement question asks if the child has had normal, loose, or watery stools in the past 24 hours/two weeks. The enhanced diarrhoea measurement questions include three levels of questions, in which the respondents are asked how many loose stools there were; if the child saw a health care provider; if there was blood; and if there was vomiting.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
-Response Rate
-Diarrhoea Rate
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The primary outcome of this study is the determination of the feasibility of the use of mobile phone surveys for studies on diarrhoea - looking specifically at the use and quality of responses.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
This is a factorial crossover RCT with eight arms, with some combination of the following:
-Incentive OR no incentive
-Two week recall OR 24 hour recall
-Standard questionnaire OR three level questionnaire

Throughout the course of the study, participants will be randomised throughout all study arms, ensuring that there are no consecutive weeks of the same recall period; and no more than two consecutive weeks of the same level of incentivization.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Households will be randomised into equally into one of eight groups by computer.
Randomization Unit
The randomisation unit is individual households.
Was the treatment clustered?
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
Supporting Documents and Materials

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IRB Name
University of Warwick BSREC
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Is the intervention completed?
Is data collection complete?
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers