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Adherence to the integrated management of childhood illness guidelines in Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda: evidence from the national service provision assessment surveys
Authors: Carsten Krüger, Monika Heinzel-Gutenbrunner, and
Source: BMC Health Services Research, 17:822; DOI:
Topic(s): Child health
Health care utilization
Country: Africa
  Multiple African Countries
Published: DEC 2017
Abstract: Background Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) is regarded as a standard public health approach to lowering child mortality in developing countries. However, little is known about how health workers adhere to the guidelines at the national level in sub-Saharan African countries. Methods Data from the Service Provision Assessment surveys of Namibia (NA) (survey year: 2009), Kenya (KE) (2010), Tanzania (TZ) (2006) and Uganda (UG) (2007) were analysed for adherence to the IMCI guidelines by health workers. Potential influencing factors included the survey country, patient’s age, the different levels of the national health system, the training level of the health care provider (physician, non-physician clinician, nurse-midwife, auxiliary staff), and the status of re-training in IMCI. Results In total, 6856 children (NA: 1495; KE: 1890; TZ: 2469; UG: 1002 / male 51.2–53.5%) aged 2–73 months (2–24 months, 65.3%; median NA: 19 months; KE: 18 months; TZ: 16 months; UG: 15 months) were clinically assessed by 2006 health workers during the surveys. Less than 33% of the workers carried out assessment of all three IMCI danger signs, namely inability to eat/drink, vomiting everything, and febrile convulsions (NA: 11%; KE: 11%; TZ: 14%; UG: 31%) while the rate for assessing all three of the IMCI main symptoms of cough/difficult breathing, diarrhoea, and fever was < 60% (NA: 48%; KE: 34%; TZ: 50%; UG: 57%). Physical examination rates for fever (temperature) (NA: 97%; KE: 87%; TZ: 73%; UG: 90%), pneumonia (respiration rate/auscultation) (NA: 43%; KE: 24%; TZ: 25%; UG: 20%) and diarrhoea (dehydration status) (NA: 29%; KE: 19%; TZ: 20%; UG: 39%) varied widely and were highest when assessing children with the actual diagnosis of pneumonia and diarrhoea. Adherence rates tended to be higher in children =?24 months, at hospitals, among higher-qualified staff (physician/non-physician clinician) and among those with recent IMCI re-training. Conclusion Despite nationwide training in IMCI the adherence rates for assessment and physical examination remained low in all four countries. IMCI training should continue to be provided to all health staff, particularly nurses, midwives, and auxiliary staff, with periodic re-training and an emphasis to equally target children of all age groups. Keywords Integrated management of childhood illness – Adherence – Health workers – Sub-Saharan Africa