Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM) has been receiving an increased amount of international attention as large scale implementation across sub-Saharan Africa has begun producing results with clear implications for research and policy priorities. Policymakers and donors are paying attention to the life-saving programme which is at the forefront of an international integrated child health agenda.
Across international global health conferences Ministries of Health, researchers and programme implementers have been presenting their ICCM experience and exchanging knowledge and lessons learned for programme improvement, sustainability and expansion. As part of the sixth Multilateral Initiative on Malaria (MIM) Pan-African Malaria Conference in Durban, Malaria Consortium hosted a symposium titled “Scalable innovations for improved malaria control in the era of elimination” to share learning from programmes carried out in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, highlighting the importance of integrated approaches to malaria prevention and control interventions. Representatives from Malaria Consortium, John Snow Inc (JSI), Save the Children and the World Health Organisation spoke on improving community involvement, data sharing and use, supervision of community health workers and supply chain management. Several examples of innovative approaches using mHealth and community dialogue to promote motivation and performance were shared.
Malaria Consortiums’ Technical Director Dr Sylvia Meek said: “Our experience reflects the need for integrated approaches to malaria control, implementing programmes that address multiple diseases as well as strengthening systems for delivery.”
During the 20th Canadian Conference on Global Health, held in Ottawa in October 2013, Malaria Consortium participated in a symposium on “Improving equitable access to life saving interventions for children under the age of five years” with a presentation on creating an enabling environment for development of national ICCM policies using Uganda as an example as well as sharing lessons learned from the community dialogue approach used as part of ICCM projects to promote appropriate management of childhood illnesses.
As part of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene conference, held in Washington in November 2013, many oral and poster presentations as well as symposia focused on the impact of ICCM in reducing childhood mortality. A large scale symposium, “Impact of Integrated Community Case Management (ICCM) on Child Morbidity and Mortality: Results of Large-Scale ICCM Impact Evaluations in Africa” was held, with a high turnout of key stakeholders from Ministries of Health, implementers and the research community. Malaria Consortium shared experience, results and best practices from a four year programme implementation in South Sudan and Uganda. In addition there were a large number of presentations including (provide links for all)“Equity in uptake of diarrhoea and pneumonia treatment in a community case management program in Uganda” by Nanyonjo et al., “Managing acute febrile illness in the community - Implications for policy and practice in the era of rapid diagnostics tests for malaria” by Källander et al., “Improving data to improve programs: Implementation of a data use package as part of the community case management program for common childhood illnesses in Malawi” by the TRAction Embedded CCM-IDIP Working Group “Measuring the strength of community case management implementation: Validation of mobile phone interviews with community health workers in Malawi” by Hazel at al, (for more information, please click here)
These presentations addressed different and often complementary areas of ICCM implementation and provided key recommendations for policy and practice.
In March 2014 the focus will once again be on ICCM as the ‘International ICCM Evidence Review’ will be held in Ghana, bringing together Ministries of Health from across Africa, donors, implementing partners and other stakeholders to assess the programme across key thematic areas and plan for the next phase. More and more, Governments, donors and the international health community are seeing the impact appropriate and timely diagnosis for diarrhoea, pneumonia and malaria can have on child mortality. Now is the time to invest in ICCM and move towards building a scalable and sustainable programme based on lessons learned and best practices.