"Can I remember
to do it?"
Another determinant is whether or not the person can (1)
remember to do the preventive action, and (2) remember the
steps involved in doing the preventive action. Another name
for this barrier is "cues for action." A cue is
something that helps you remember something else. If someone
cannot remember to do an action, or cannot even remember the
action itself, then that person’s knowledge of and opinion
about the action (e.g., whether it works) does not matter.
The old fisherman could not remember that he had stopped
smoking, and he started smoking again. Forgetting behaviors
is probably more common in small daily behaviors (e.g.,
giving snacks to a child, flossing) rather than one like
Now our mother thinks that her child can get dehydrated
(1), that dehydration is a severe problem (2), that ORS
prevents dehydration (3), and that it is easy to make
(4), but when her child has diarrhea, she forgets to use
it and instead takes her child to the clinic, four hours
away! Or maybe another mother would forget how to mix
up the recipe for ORS even though she wanted to make it.
What could we do to help the mother remember how to make
ORS and that they should make ORS? Maybe we need to have
mothers repeat the message several times, especially right
before and during the diarrhea season. We also need to
take into account when the person is ready to learn (i.e.
“teachable moments”) and teach people during
those moments. Another alternative would be to give each
mother one or two packets of ORS to keep in her kitchen
as a reminder to use it. We could also teach mothers a
song about how to make packet ORS.