Integrated management of the sick child.
Diarrhoea, pneumonia, measles, malaria and malnutrition account for more than 70% of deaths and health facility visits among children under 5 years of age in developing countries. A number of programmes in WHO and UNICEF have developed an approach to the integrated management of the sick child, which is being coordinated by WHO's Division for the Control of Diarrhoeal and Acute Respiratory Disease. Integrated clinical guidelines have been developed and a training course for health workers in outpatient (first level) health facilities has been completed. In addition to case management of these diseases, the course incorporates significant prevention of disease through promotion of breast-feeding, counselling to solve feeding problems, and immunization of sick children. Other materials to train and support health workers are also being developed: an inpatient case management training course, medical school curricular materials, a drug supply management course, and materials to support monitoring and reinforcement of skills after training. A planning guide for interventions to improve household management of childhood illness is also being developed. Since management of the sick child is a cost-effective health intervention, which has been estimated to have a large impact on the global burden of disease in developing countries, the completion of these materials and their wide implementation should have a substantial impact on child mortality.