Integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) was developed by the WHO and UNICEF in the mid-1990s as a strategy to reduce under-five mortality. Aimed at countries with mortalities >40/1000 live births, it has been adopted by more than 100 countries. Repeated evaluations have demonstrated that IMCI can improve the quality of clinical care for sick children, but coverage has rarely reached high enough levels to achieve the expected reductions in mortality. In this paper, we discuss the reasons why IMCI has fallen short of its full potential, what has already been done to address some of these issues, and how it could be repositioned to achieve its original goals.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.