Objective: The multi-country evaluation of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) effectiveness, cost and impact (MCE) is a global evaluation to determine the impact of IMCI on health outcomes and its cost-effectiveness. MCE studies are under way in Bangladesh, Brazil, Peru, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania. The objective of this analysis from the Bangladesh MCE study was to describe the quality of care delivered to sick children under 5 years old in first-level government health facilities, to inform government planning of child health programmes.
Methods: Generic MCE Health Facility Survey tools were adapted, translated and pre-tested. Medical doctors trained in IMCI and these tools conducted the survey in all 19 health facilities in the study areas. The data were collected using observations, exit interviews, inventories and interviews with facility providers.
Findings: Few of the sick children seeking care at these facilities were fully assessed or correctly treated, and almost none of their caregivers were advised on how to continue the care of the child at home. Over one-third of the sick children whose care was observed were managed by lower-level workers who were significantly more likely than higher-level workers to classify the sick child correctly and to provide correct information on home care to the caregiver.
Conclusion: These results demonstrate an urgent need for interventions to improve the quality of care provided for sick children in first-level facilities in Bangladesh, and suggest that including lower-level workers as targets for IMCI case-management training may be beneficial. The findings suggest that the IMCI strategy offers a promising set of interventions to address the child health service problems in Bangladesh.