The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness or IMCI has several key points in the promotion and restoration of health of children in the community. It has been improved to provide a more integrated approach to managing sick children by UNICEF in cooperation with the World Health Organization.
The main objectives of IMCI involves the reduction of significantly global child mortality and morbidity associated with the major causes of illness and as well contribute to the promotion of healthy growth and development of children.
Its components basically encompass the improvement of several aspects of health in the community, which are:
- Skills of health workers in case management
- Health care delivery system
- Family and community health practices
The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness does not only emphasize the adjustment of curative interventions in the community but to encourage the active involvement of family members and the community in the health care process. Thus, health teaching/ counselling as an essential component in the improvement of health is being utilized in IMCI.
This guide manual is being utilized by health care workers in the:
- Assessment and classification (color coded)
- Identification of appropriate treatment
- Treatment or referral
- Provision of health teaching and counselling
- Giving instructions for follow- up in the rural health unit
Case management of sick children covers those infants aged up to 2 months old and children aged 2 months old up to 5 years. These children are assessed for any “general danger signs” which indicate the need for immediate referral to hospital facility. In addition, the common major symptoms are also checked. The child’s nutritional and immunization status, feeding problems, and other potential problems are also noted and dealt with.
In the new edition of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness, the health workers are not only task to provide interventions for the sick child but also to give health teachings with regards to mother’s health and how to express breast milk.
Furthermore, the common major health problems addressed in IMCI are: Pneumonia, Dysentery, persistent diarrhoea, Malaria, Measles with eye or mouth complications, ear infection, feeding problem, anemia, pallor, very low weight, and severe uncomplicated malnutrition for children aged 2 months old up to 5 years. While local bacterial infection, jaundice, diarrhoea, feeding problem, low weight for age and thrush are being given importance for infants aged up to 2 months old.