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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.
In: Health and disease in developing countries, edited by Kari S. Lankinen, Staffan Bergstrom, P. Helena Makela, Miikka Peltomaa. London, England, Macmillan Press, 1994. 135-46.In the early 1980s approximately 4.6 million children under 5 years old died from diarrheal diseases each year in developing countries, and the annual number of diarrheal episodes in this age group was above 1 billion. Rotavirus is the single most important causal agent of acute and profuse watery diarrhea characterized by vomiting and fever. The typical age for rotavirus diarrhea is between 6 and 11 months of age. Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC) are found in 10-50% of cases of acute diarrhea in developing countries. Enteropathogenic E. coli (EPEC) also cause diarrhea in developing countries, but only in the first months of life. Shigellosis commonly refers to dysentery, the clinical picture of which includes fever, abdominal cramps, and bloody diarrhea with frequent, small and mucoid stools. Both S. flexneri and S. dysenteriae 1 are important causes of dysentery in developing countries. Shigellosis is one of the few diarrheal infections in which antibiotics are indicated. The clinical symptoms of Salmonella sp. include fever, abdominal pains, headache, and cough, and clinical signs include coated tongue, splenomegaly, rales in lungs, and relative bradycardia. Typhoid fever is endemic in large parts of the world with an estimated death toll of 500,000-600,000 per year. An estimated 120,000 deaths are caused annually by Vibrio cholerae. Today most cases of cholera are manageable with oral rehydration therapy (ORT). In addition, antimicrobials are routinely given. Case management of acute diarrhea includes treatment of dehydration by oral rehydration solution (ORS). The physiological principles of ORT were established in the 1960s. The World Health Organization formula for ORT is suitable for the management of all types of dehydration. Antimicrobials should be discouraged in uncomplicated acute diarrhea. Several causes of persistent diarrhea have been proposed including: infection with enteroadherent E. coli, enteropathogenic E. coli and Cryptosporidium; and intolerance to foods.
INDIAN JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS. 1990 Jan-Feb; 57(1):7-14.Problems facing the world's children, development goals for children, and strategies for meeting these goals in the 1990s are abstracted from a UNICEF publication "Strategies for Children in the 1990s". Children face poverty (45% of children under 5 outside China), mortality from diarrhea, preventable diseases, malaria, meningitis and others, disabling diseases, being unplanned, low birth weight, malnutrition, lack of sanitation and education, and 20% are in "especially difficult circumstances" i.e. war, disaster, abandonment of refugee status. Children should be the starting point of development strategy since human capital is the basis of national investment. The UN goals are to reduce infant mortality by 50% in all countries or to 50-70/1000; reduce maternal mortality by 50%, provide safe drinking water, sanitation and universal education and eliminate guinea worm by 1995. Specific goals in maternal and child health are listed. Emphasis should be placed on implementation with today's technology, reaching the hard to reach, giving preferential access to women.
INFECTION CONTROL. 1984 Nov; 5(11):538-41.In 1978 the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare (MHSW) of Liberia launched the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) with the 5-year objective of establishing an 80% reduction in child mortality and morbidity from measles, polio, diphtheria, neonatal tetanus, pertussis, and tuberculosis. The program at first adopted a strategy of using 15 mobile units in 11 operational zones to deliver vaccinations throughout the country. However, by 1980, despite support from the Baptist World Alliance, the UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO), it became evident that the mobile strategy was neither economically feasible nor practical. Therefore, with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the EPI shifted to a strategy of integrating immunization activities into the existing network of state health facilities. After 5 years, in 1982, the Program was evaluated by a team from the MHSW, WHO, USAID, and the Centers for Disease Control. The evaluating team felt that the EPI's strategy was good, but its goals were not being achieved due to deficiencies in funding, clinic supervision, and rural community outreach, as well as shortages of kerosene and spare parts needs to keep the essential refrigerators in operating condition. Measles remains endemic; in the capital, Monrovia, only 9% of the children have been vaccinated against it. Immunization coverage is particularly low in the capital the countries. Other reasons for low vaccination coverage in Liberia are lack of community awareness of existing facilities and the importance of vaccination and lack of coordination at the community level to use the existing facilities efficiently. International assistance is still needed, especially to develop heat-stable vaccines, so that maintenance of refrigerators will not be necessary.
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF TROPICAL MEDICINE AND HYGIENE. 1986 Jan; 35(1):1-2.A paper by Hazlett et al. is of particular importance because it addresses the question of the role of acute respiratory infections (ARI) as a cause of morbidity and especially mortality in 3rd world children. Diarrheal disease and malnutrition are generally thought to be the major killers of these children, and until recently little attention was paid to ARI. Recent data suggest that ARI are more important than realized previously and almost certainly are the leading cause of death in children in developing countries. It is estimated that each year more than 15 million children less than 5 years old die, obviously most in socially and economically deprived countries. Since death usually is due to a combination of social, economic, and medical factors, it is impossible to obtain precise data on the causes of death. It has been estimated that 5 million of the deaths are due to diarrhea, over 3 million due to pneumonia, 2 million to measles, 1.5 million to pertussis, 1 million to tetanus, and the other 2.5 million or less to other causes. Since pertussis is an acute respiratory infection and measles deaths frequently are due to infections of the respiratory tract, it is becoming clear that ARI are associated with more deaths than any other single cause. The significance of this is emphasized when the mortality rates from ARI in developed and underdeveloped nations are compared. Depending on the countries compared, age group, and other factors, increases of 5-10-fold have been reported. These factors raise the question of why respiratory infections are so lethal for 3rd world children. The severity of pneumonia, which is the cause of most ARI deaths, seems to be the big difference. Data are accumulating which show that bacterial infections are associated with the majority of severe infections and "Streptococcus pneumoniae" and "Haemophilus influenzae," infrequent causes of pneumonia in developed world children, are the microorganisms incriminated in a large proportion of cases. The increase in severity of ARI in 3rd world children has been associated, at least in port, with malnutrition, diarrheal diseases, an increased parasite load, and more recently with air pollution. Crowding and other factors associated with poverty doubtless also play a role. How these various factors contribute to increased severity and lethality is not well understood. The increasing recognition of the important role played by ARI as causes of mortality in 3rd world children is encouraging. The UN International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has joined the World Health Organization in the battle against ARI in developing countries, and the 2 organizations recently issued a joint statement on the subject in which they pledged to collaborate to integrate an ARI component into the primary health care program.
The Population Council's research program on infant and child mortality in Southeast Asia: a case study of the relationship between contamination of infant weaning foods, household food handling practices, morbidity, and growth faltering in a rural Thai population.
Bangkok, Thailand, Population Council, Regional Office for South and East Asia, 1986 Aug. 24 p. (Population Council Regional Research Papers. South and East Asia)This booklet describes the overall plan of the research program on infant and child mortality in Southeast Asia, sponsored by the Population Council, the Ford Foundation, the Australian Development Assistance Bureau, and the Canadian International Development Research Center. The objectives are to gain scientific knowledge about the socioeconomic, behavioral and medical factors in mortality; to increase awareness through networking and publication; and to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions at the household and community levels. It is assumed that a small number of simple techniques will prevent over half of child deaths. Applied social science or operations research will be used primarily, rather than clinical or demographic studies. Statistical sociological correlations between a variety of environmental characteristics and mortality as the dependent variable will point to determinants of mortality. The 5 chief determinants are: maternal factors, environmental contamination, nutrient deficiencies, injury, and personal illness controls. The concerns reflected in the projects funded so far include: to focus on some combination of determinants of child survival; to focus on a specific location; to use multiple approaches to data collection; to produce results that can be applied as interventions. As an example, the study on the relationship of contamination of infant weaning foods to morbidity and infant growth in a rural Thai population is summarized.