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Abstract The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy combines improved case management of childhood illness with aspects of nutrition, immunization, disease prevention, and promotion of growth and development. The household and community component of IMCI was formulated to reach the numerous sick children who are ill and often die at home without ever being treated by a trained healthcare practitioner. In January 2001, USAID (Child Health Research Project and BASICS II) and the CORE Group sponsored a meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, to determine the research needed to implement household and community IMCI effectively. This paper summarizes the presentations at that meeting and highlights the research and programme priorities expressed using the three-element approach devised by the CORE Group and USAID (BASICS II and Child Survival Technical Support Project). Research priorities to improve partnerships between health facilities and the communities they serve (Element 1) include finding ways to increase community involvement and management of health facilities, establishing accurate costs for community IMCI services, and formulating cost-recovery mechanisms tailored to local circumstances. Programme priorities in Element 1 include establishment of systems for maintenance of an adequate supply of essential equipment and medicines, while retaining access for the poor and ensuring adequate referral mechanisms for severely-ill patients that include monitoring and incentives for the performance of health workers. Research priorities to increase appropriate, accessible care and information from community-based care providers (Element 2) consist of activities to design simplified IMCI guidelines for use by community health workers (CHWs) and volunteers and evaluation of the impact of using these guidelines on morbidity and mortality. Also a priority item in this category is experimenting with ways to teach mothers and families to care for sick children at home and strategies to improve the practice of medicine in the private sector. More research is also needed to improve the quality of nutritional and preventive health counselling given by CHWs and to find ways to make community IMCI interventions sustainable. Programme priorities in Element 2 include efforts at the national level to establish policies to improve care by traditional and private care providers and to define the position of volunteer workers in the national health system. Research priorities to integrate promotion of key family practices critical for public health (Element 3) are focused on determining which interventions are the most effective in reducing child morbidity and mortality at the household and community levels, finding the best methods of delivering these interventions, and implementing these and scaling up in essential service packages. Particular issues in child health, needing urgent attention from the research and programme communities, are HIV/AIDS and neonatal morbidity and mortality.
This article was published in J Health Popul Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Infectious Diseases & Therapy