Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI)


IMCI is a strategy developed by the World Health Organisation's Division of Child Health and Development and UNICEF. It has been introduced in more than 30 countries around the world to address morbidity and mortality in children under five years. The strategy focuses on the child as a whole, rather than on a single disease or condition. Sick children often arrive at primary health care facilities with a number of sicknesses and have to be managed in an integrated manner at home and at the clinic.


Every year, about 12 million children in developing countries die before they reach their fifth birthday, many during the first year of life. Seven in 10 of these deaths are due to five main diseases: acute respiratory infections (mostly pneumonia), diarrhoea, measles, malnutrition, and malaria (found only in Kwazulu/Natal Mpumalanga and the Northern Province).

The Western Cape Department of Health guidelines have been developed to complement the WHO's list and adapt it to include priority conditions affecting children in the Western Cape specifically. These illnesses are managed from when the child is one week old to five years old:


Primary health care staff are trained to identify children who have these illnesses. Sick children are assessed according to their symptoms and signs. Treatment is given if necessary, and the caregiver/parent is counselled and is advised on the follow-up of the patient. Severely ill children are urgently referred to hospital, moderately ill children get specific treatment at primary health care level and at home and those that are mildly are given supportive therapy and counselling.


If you are a first-time visitor to a health facility, you will be asked to fill out a form and a folder will be opened. Bring your ID book, any medication you are taking and a clinic or hospital card, if previously registered at the facility. Bring the child's Road to Health Chart.


Midwife Obstetric Units or primary health care clinics and centres offer integrated management of childhood illnesses. If you or your child is referred up the line, you will be sent to a urban or rural regional hospital, or a tertiary hospital.

Provided At: These facility categories:
Provided by:
Government Body: (Western Cape Government)

Services are free of charge at primary health care facilities.

The content on this page was last updated on 12 September 2013