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SYNOPSIS. 1998 Jan; (2):1-8.The World Health Organization (WHO)/UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) guidelines were designed to maximize detection and appropriate treatment of illnesses due to the most common causes of child mortality and morbidity in developing countries: pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria, measles, bacterial infections in young infants, malnutrition, anemia, and ear problems. The health worker first examines the child and checks immunization status, then classifies the child's illness and identifies the appropriate treatment based on a color-coded triage system. By May 1997, 17 countries had introduced IMCI and 16 others were in the process of introduction. This issue reports on field tests of the guidelines conducted in Kenya, the Gambia, Uganda, Bangladesh, and Tanzania. Health workers who used the guidelines performed well when compared to physicians who had access to laboratory and radiographic findings as well as health workers trained in full case management. Of concern, however, are research findings suggesting the potential for overdiagnosis in some disease classifications. Current IMCI research priorities include the following: 1) determining health workers' ability to learn to detect lower chest wall indrawing; 2) identifying clinical signs to increase the specificity of referral for severe pneumonia; 3) identifying other clinical signs to increase the specificity of hospital referrals, thereby reducing unnecessary referrals; 4) investigating how clinical care for severely ill children could be expanded in areas where referral is not feasible; 5) finding ways to increase the specificity of the diagnosis of malaria; and 6) recognizing clinical signs to increase the specificity of the diagnosis of severe anemia and the specificity of the diagnosis of moderate or mild anemia, with the possible goal of regional adaptation of the anemia guidelines.