Today marks the beginning of a three-day conference in Accra, Ghana to consider the evidence of the impact of integrated community case management (iCCM) and its effectiveness as a community-based health solution.
The conference will bring together experts from a range of organisations and national governments in Africa and has two objectives: to review current implementation practices by inviting input from a diverse group of experts who will share lessons learned and discuss current challenges in programming efforts; and to assist countries to integrate operational research and key findings to improve the efficacy of community health solutions.
Over the past few years, there has been an increasing focus on iCCM as a means of providing healthcare for the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach communities and for establishing sustainable treatment and prevention solutions for common childhood illnesses such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhoea. iCCM projects extend health services beyond the limited reach of public health facilities, and bring knowledge and expertise to communities by training community health workers to diagnose and treat major illnesses for children under five.
So far, iCCM programmes have been highly successful in the 30 countries in which they have been implemented in sub-Saharan Africa. However, challenges remain.
“There are many logistical challenges we face when implementing iCCM programmes in country,” said Helen Counihan, Malaria Consortium’s Senior Public Health Specialist. “Key among them is the difficulty of sustaining a reliable supply chain in order to ensure vital supplies. Another is the importance of setting up proper supportive supervisory systems to keep community health workers motivated and connected with the health system. Behaviour change communication is another aspect we would like to scale up further. These are some of the challenges that will be discussed at the symposium with the aim of sharing experiences to inform and guide ministries of health.”
Malaria Consortium has a great deal of experience implementing iCCM projects in Africa, andwill be attending the conference to share learning and discuss ideas with representatives from UNICEF, the World Health Organization, USAID’s Maternal and Child Health Integrated Program, and the International Rescue Committee, andthe Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation among others.
To learn more, please visit our iCCM page and read the latest ICCM-related Learning Papers, released today: