Intended for healthcare professionals

Strategic review of child health

Over the past quarter of a century, child mortality has more than halved. Yet in 2016, globally, an estimated 5.6 million children died before reaching their 5th birthday, most from conditions that are readily preventable or treatable with proved, cost effective interventions. Millions of others failed to reach their full healthy growth and development.

Two decades ago, Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) was introduced by the World Health Organization and Unicef as a global strategy to “reach all children” with prevention, diagnosis and treatment for common childhood illnesses, aiming at reducing child mortality and promoting child health. The strategic review of IMCI and iCCM aimed to draw lessons from past measures and current best practices to provide direction on how countries, supported by the global child health community, can deliver the best possible strategies to help each child to survive and thrive.

This collection of articles describes findings from the strategic review. It seeks to provide thoughtful, transparent, evidence based examination of past measures and current best practices, and to consider future needs when rethinking global and national child health strategies.

Series articles

Introductory commentary: a strategic review of options for building on lessons learnt from IMCI and iCCM
Marian Jacobs and colleagues

Methods for the strategic review of programmes for integrated management of childhood illness and community cases
Sarah Dalglish

Global implementation of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness – twenty years on - BMJ Open
Cynthia Boschi-Pinto and colleagues

Rethinking the scale up of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness
Smruti Patel and colleagues

Role of district health management teams in child health strategies
Tanya Doherty and colleagues

Improving health worker performance: an ongoing challenge for meeting the sustainable development goals
Alexander Rowe and colleagues

Strengthening the capabilities of families and communities to improve child health in low and middle income countries
Audrey Prost and colleagues

Delivering child health interventions through the private sector in low and middle income countries: challenges, opportunities, and potential next steps
Phyllis Awor and colleagues

Child health guidelines in the era of sustainable development goals
Jonathan Simon and colleagues

Framework and strategy for integrated monitoring and evaluation of child health programmes for responsive programming, accountability, and impact
Theresa Diaz and colleagues

Future directions for reducing inequity and maximising impact of child health strategies
Sarah Dalglish and colleagues

Where’s the leadership? Future commitments of Unicef and WHO for global child health
Anthony Costello and colleagues

Further content

From the WHO and Unicef
• The WHO website on IMCI provides information, reports, guidance and publications dating from the strategy's inception to today.
• Unicef's website on child health and community health systems provides information on community case management, effective interventions, and more.

Future directions for child health: Mike Merson and Theresa Diaz, a podcast by Anthony Costello.

These articles are part of a series based on findings from a global review of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Open access fees were funded by the South African Medical Research Council (Health Systems Research Unit). The BMJ peer reviewed, edited, and made the decision to publish these articles with no involvement from the South African Medical Research Council.

Cover image © Partha Sarathi Sahana