Cover Image
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 family practices

The importance of a child's social context in determining health cannot be underestimated. Promoting health at home and within the wider community plays an essential part in WHO's integrated approach. Good feeding practices, immunization, improved hygiene and the healthy development of children will all reduce child mortality rates.

Through IMCI, health workers counsel parents on how to improve care for their sick children. Workers teach them how to administer drugs to combat pneumonia, how to follow the three rules of home care for diarrhoea - increase fluids, continue feeding and recognize the danger signs that mean their child needs further treatment in a health facility - how to care for children afflicted by measles and how to protect their children from malaria by using insecticide-impregnated bednets.

Many children die because their parents do not recognize danger signs indicating that they might be suffering from one of the above conditions or any other illness. Systems are also being devised to teach parents what to do if their children do fall ill: where and when to go for appropriate help, and the importance of following treatment advice.

For more information, please contact the WHO Division of Child Health and Development (CHD), Tel (+41 22) 791 2632, Fax (+41 22) 791 4853, Website; or Health Communications and Public Relations, WHO Geneva, Tel (+41 22) 791-2584, Fax (+41 22) 791 4858, E-Mail:

All WHO Press Releases, Fact Sheets and Features as well as other information on this subject can be obtained on Internet on the WHO home page

© WHO/OMS, 2000