The impact of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness in Bangladesh

August 2009

In a cluster randomized trial published in the Lancet in August 2009, investigators evaluated the impact of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy on health worker skills and support, care-seeking practices, feeding practices, growth, and mortality in children under five in rural Bangladesh over a period of six years. The investigators introduced new IMCI initiatives to provide health worker training, improve health systems, and support family and community activities. During the years of intervention, the investigators made several adjustments to improve case management, including development of a new cadre of village health workers. While both intervention and non-intervention areas experienced improvements in health statistics and a decrease in child mortality during the six years, children in IMCI areas were more likely to be exclusively breastfed and less likely to be stunted. Children in IMCI areas also were more likely to be properly treated for diarrhea, a finding that may contribute to the reduction in stunting. While no statistical significance in child mortality was found, child mortality was more than 13% lower in IMCI areas during the last two years of the study.

Effect of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness strategy on childhood mortality and nutrition in a rural area in Bangladesh: a cluster randomised trial