Integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) strategy for children under five

Gera, T. et al. Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care Group. Published online: 22 June 2016

cochrane

Image source: Cochrane Library

Background: More than 7.5 million children younger than age five living in low- and middle-income countries die every year. The World Health Organization (WHO) developed the integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) strategy to reduce mortality and morbidity and to improve quality of care by improving the delivery of a variety of curative and preventive medical and behavioral interventions at health facilities, at home, and in the community.

Objectives: To evaluate the effects of programs that implement the IMCI strategy in terms of death, nutritional status, quality of care, coverage with IMCI deliverables, and satisfaction of beneficiaries.

Authors’ conclusions: The mix of interventions examined in research studies evaluating the IMCI strategy varies, and some studies include specific inputs to improve neonatal health. Most studies were conducted in South Asia. Implementing the integrated management of childhood illness strategy may reduce child mortality, and packages that include interventions for the neonatal period may reduce infant mortality. IMCI may have little or no effect on nutritional status and probably has little or no effect on vaccine coverage. Maternal care seeking behavior may be more appropriate with IMCI, but study results have been mixed, providing evidence of very low certainty about whether IMCI has effects on adherence to exclusive breast feeding.

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