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close this bookFact sheet No 178: Reducing Mortality from Major Killers of Children - Revised September 1998 (WHO, 1998, 7 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntegrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI)
View the documentPneumonia: correct management could save over 1 million lives per year
View the documentDiarrhoea: correct management could save nearly 1.8 million lives per year
View the documentMeasles: effective prevention and treatment could save 700 000 lives per year
View the documentMalaria: correct management could save 500 000 lives per year
View the documentMalnutrition: improved feeding practices could save 800 000 lives per year
View the documentOther prevention activities
View the documentResearch and development
View the documentImproving health systems
View the documentImproving health worker skills
View the documentImproving family practices

Improving health worker skills

Training health workers is a key activity in the long-term undertaking to improve their skills in providing care to sick children. The IMCI clinical management course trains health workers in first-level facilities (outpatient clinics and health centres) to effectively manage illness in an integrated fashion in children between the ages of 1 week and 5 years. The course also teaches them to communicate key health messages to mothers, helping them to understand how best to ensure the health of their children.

The training course is based on standard case-management guidelines and emphasizes hands-on practice. But course materials are adapted to each country or local situation. This adaptation ensures that the course follows national policies. In the case of appropriate drugs to recommend, it ensures that local disease factors are taken into account, for example adding dengue haemorrhagic fever, or deleting malaria if there is no risk in the area. Finally, the adaptation provides a means of identifying both local foods and drinks for feeding recommendations, and locally accepted terminology to make communication more successful.

Case management at first-level facilities must be complemented by case management at the referral level. WHO is currently developing guidelines and training materials aimed at improving care in small hospitals and to improve the management of those children too sick to be treated at outpatient clinics. WHO is also working on methods to introduce IMCI into the curriculae of training schools for health professionals.