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J Trop Pediatr. 2004 Feb;50(1):41-7.

Management of sick children by health workers in Ballabgarh: lessons for implementation of IMCI in India.

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  • 1Comprehensive Rural Health Services Project, Ballabgarh, Haryana, India.


The aim of this study was to determine the impact of training of health workers in the management of pediatric morbidity in terms of reduction in infant mortality rate (IMR) a 2-year period in rural Ballabgarh with a present IMR of 37 per 1000 live births. The study was designed as a pre- and post-intervention trial. The intervention was started in November 1999 and the outcome measured for the years 2000 and 2001. A sample size of 4000 was estimated for a power of 80 per cent at 5 per cent significance level. The training of the workers was for 4 days and included didactics, video-films, patient demonstrations, etc. Data on under-fives' deaths and their causes using a verbal autopsy tool was done as a part of the routine data collection system. The workers management of pediatric morbidity was assessed based on the post-training knowledge gain, forms filled by them, and referrals seen at the secondary level. The knowledge of the workers on disease and their management improved after the initial training but reached a plateau at a 50 per cent score. A review of 948 forms showed that the workers' disease classification and management was not satisfactory, especially for pneumonia and sick neonates. It was better for fever, measles, dysentery, and diarrhoea. A review of 11 cases referred by workers confirmed this. There was no impact on IMR. A look at the cause of death revealed that malnutrition, diarrhoea, and pneumonia to be the main causes among post-neonatal deaths and birth-asphyxia and prematurity as the main cause of deaths in the neonates. While implementing Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) in India through the health workers, increased emphasis needs to be placed on training and supervision. Community level issues, such as healthcare seeking, female neglect, etc., may limit the scope of reduction in IMR due to implementation of IMCI.

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