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UNICEF/HQ99-0859/Roger Lemoyne

Inter Agency Working Group on Community Integrated Management of Childhood Illness

The community focus – a systematic approach
What's New
C-IMCI Newsletter of the InterAgency Working Group

Improving child health and development in and through the community sounds deceptively simple. However, experience shows that the process is long and there are no short cuts. It needs careful planning, adequate resources and the cooperation of all partners. In short, there must be a systematic approach, whether this involves the relationship between health worker and individual family, or the development of a national strategy.


Once the decision has been taken to target child health in the community, certain common steps can make the approach work most effectively.


Members of the Interagency Working Group on Community IMCI and their partners are providing technical assistance to countries choosing to improve the health of their children by targeting the community.

Child health and development in the community – a pillar of IMCI

Addressing Under 5 mortality...

Starting at the Community level ...

Improving child health through the community is at the core of the IMCI
strategy – Integrated Management of Childhood Illness. This strategy promotes
the prevention of illness as well as the prompt recognition and appropriate
treatment of the most common causes of childhood deaths in developing
countries: pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, measles, HIV/AIDS and malnutrition.
IMCI has three main areas of focus:

improving health worker skills,
improving health systems
and improving family and community practices.

IMCI places the individual child and his or her needs at its centre and emphasizes that key factors in the child’s immediate environment are as important as medical treatment in improving health. More than 80 countries have so far successfully introduced the IMCI strategy into their health systems.
Over 40 countries are giving special attention to improving family and community
practices as a key way of reaching vulnerable children.