Household Integration Care: A Potential New Strategy in Improving the Integrated Community Case Management of Childhood Illnesses

Ndugbu Kizito1*, Chukwuocha Adanna1, Nzeribe Emily1, Enebeli Ugo1, Igwe Chidinma2 & Chukwuocha Uchechukwu1

1Department of Public Health, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria
2Department of Public Health, Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria

Ndugbu Kizito, Department of Public Health, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.

Keywords: Household Integration Care; Childhood Illnesses; Malaria; Pneumonia; Diarrhoea; Integrated Community Case Management


Malaria, Pneumonia and Diarrhoea have together caused most childhood deaths particularly in resource poor underserved areas though they are preventable. The Integrated community case management (ICCM) strategy has been adopted to improve access to treatment of children at risk of these diseases. The strategy builds on previous child survival programmes to achieve its objectives and has actually achieved some results. However, the increasing cases of poor referral, irrational use of drugs, delay in care-seeking and the obvious passive disposition of care-givers have continued to hamper the effective implementation of the ICCM. The community dimension of ICCM has not been explored. This is because the family or household setting which is unarguably the first point of care has not been fully integrated. This affects any clear-cut definition of the roles of Community Health Workers, amidst the obvious difficulty in equitably covering the three diseases. More success and sustainability of the ICCM will be achieved by integrating the household in the strategy. This can be achieved by training of household members in simple ways of recognition of these diseases, correct immediate actions to take and when a prompt referral should be done. The training will also involve knowledge of what to expect and ability to demand such when a visit is made to formal health facilities or drug shops. A simple algorithm that explains the correct steps to take in the event of a childhood illness provided the households will also aid in guiding them to take such steps. This papers provides justifications for the necessity of adopting the Household Integration Care (HIC) as a component of the ICCM. This will fill the gaps and optimize the efficiency of efforts towards sustainable management of childhood illnesses. The integration of the household into the ICCM would importantly make family members responsive and responsible to healthcare decisions and provisions, while correctly situating the role of CHWs as facilitators The effect of this would be the cultivation of self-referral, seeking appropriate care promptly at appropriate places as well as rejection of wrong care practices at formal and informal care centres.

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