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Bull World Health Organ. 1992;70(1):109-16.

Impact on mortality of a community-based programme to control acute lower respiratory tract infections.

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International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (ICDDR, B), Dhaka.


Acute lower respiratory tract infections (ALRIs) are a major cause of death among young children in developing countries. A targeted programme designed to treat children with ALRI was implemented in 1988 in a primary health care project in rural Bangladesh. In the 2 years preceding the introduction of the programme (1986-87), non-ALRI-specific health services were provided, including promotion of oral rehydration therapy, family planning, immunization of children and mothers, distribution of vitamin A, referral of severely sick children to field clinics, and nutritional rehabilitation of malnourished children. The targeted ALRI programme, which was in place in 1988-89, was based on systematic ALRI case detection and management by community health workers, who were linked to a referral system for medical support. These two levels of intervention have been evaluated by comparing the ALRI-specific mortality in the programme area and a neighbouring control area during the two periods. During the first phase (1986-87), the ALRI mortality among under-5-year-olds was 28% lower in the intervention than in the comparison area (P less than 0.01). During the second phase (1988-89), the ALRI mortality was 32% lower in the intervention area than during the preceding phase, while there was no significant difference for the comparison area. These findings suggest that in the study region the combination of specific and nonspecific interventions can reduce ALRI mortality by as much as 50% and the overall mortality among under-5-year-olds by as much as 30%.

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