WHO and UNICEF recommend scaling up integrated community case management of childhood illness
WHO and UNICEF have produced a new joint statement that calls for scaling up community approaches to diagnosing and treating malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. This statement presents the latest evidence for integrated community case management (iCCM) of childhood illness, describes the programme elements and support tools needed to do this, and lays out actions that countries and partners can take to support the implementation of iCCM at scale.
The strategy aims to increase access to essential health services. Appropriately trained and equipped community health workers, provided with the necessary system supports, have been shown to effectively deliver iCCM for childhood malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea.
The statement lists online resources to help governments strengthen systems for community case management, with aids in policy support and training at www.CCMCentral.com. This website was developed by the iCCM Task Force, which is an association of multilateral and bilateral agencies and NGOs, working together to promote integrated community level management of childhood illness. The steering committee of the Task Force comprises USAID, UNICEF, WHO and Save the Children. The Operations Research sub-committee of the Task Force includes strong representation from TDR.
In November, a special research supplement on this topic will be launched at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 11-15 November in Atlanta, Georgia. The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene will include 18 papers that provide new data and address a number of priority research questions. One study from Ghana, for example, shows a reduction in deaths as a result of iCCM. Other articles investigate large scale implementation of iCCM in several countries; the impact that iCCM has had on shifting towards increased use of community health workers and a related reduction in the workload at the rural health center; and the cost-effectiveness of using female health workers (called Lady Health Volunteers) in Pakistan to treat severe pneumonia at the community level. The special supplement is being coordinated by Save the Children US, WHO/TDR, Boston University Schools of Public Health and Medicine and the Karolinska Institute.