About IMCI for Child Health
The WHO and UNICEF developed the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) approach to reduce child deaths, illness, and disability, and improve growth and development in children under five. While many countries have adopted the IMCI protocol as their national standard for early childhood illness, IMCI requires extensive and expensive health worker trainings, substantial supervision, and also requires health workers to adhere to time-consuming and complex workflows. While the frameworks serves to improve child health, these challenges result in decreased adherence to the protocol (DeRenzi, 2008).
CommCare for Child Health
Dimagi has significant experience designing and implementing e-IMCI solutions that replace paper forms and chart booklets with mobile phone and tablet applications. Mobile applications address IMCI and CCM limitations by supplementing health worker trainings, simplifying health workers’ workflows, supporting supervision efforts, and increasing communication within the last mile of health systems.
CHILD HEALTH PROGRAMS
Child health programs require extensive health worker trainings. It is difficult to share child health data among stakeholders.
- Mobile applications can supplement health worker trainings with multimedia-enabled training modules
- Programs can remotely update IMCI and CCM applications, enabling smoother programmatic adjustments
- Supervisors can detect data irregularities and oversee health workers’ activities, including frequency of visits, speed of follow up, number of cases identified, length of counseling sessions, and health workers that aren’t adhering to IMCI and CCM protocols
- Program managers can conduct health surveillance, monitoring, and evaluation of IMCI/ CCM programs, activating timely response where IMCI implementation is not successful
- Ministries of health can access easy-to-read reports on child health data by geographic area and make the appropriate programmatic decisions
CHILD HEALTH CLINICS
Mechanisms are often not in place to support referrals; clinics often lack medicine to treat child illness.
- Child health records can be sent to referral facilities, decreasing the likelihood of children falling out of the program due to health worker non-compliance or attrition.
- Applications consider available stock while performing automatic prescription in accordance with IMCI, based on entered symptoms.
- SMS interactions allow stockouts to be reported before they occur.
Patients are lost to follow up; families often lack proper knowledge about positive child health practices.
- Registration enables patients to be easily tracked across multiple visits, facilitating a continuum of personalized care according to their specific IMCI status (e.g. cough, fever).
- Multimedia-enabled behavior change messaging engages families on positive health practices.
- Mobile tools increase families’ likelihood to ask clinicians questions, due to perception that clinicians spend more time examining their child than filling out paper forms (Mitchell, 2012).