Geographical areas in the Cape Province are ranked by their need for resources for child health care as determined by several proxy indicators of child health. Low birthweight and perinatal mortality rates for 1989, infant and age-specific childhood death rates, as well as death rates for tuberculosis, gastroenteritis and measles for 1985 are used as indicators of need. The ten magisterial districts having the highest priority for resources are, in decreasing order of need: De Aar, Colesberg, Uitenhage, Sterkstroom, Gordonia, Prince Albert, Philipstown, Victoria West, Kirkwood and Richmond. Limitations in the data are: wide, unquantifiable confidence limits, non-independence of different indicators, lack of timeliness, and incomplete statistics. Despite these problems with the data there are several reasons for employing them. Firstly, the quality of the data is only likely to be improved if they are actually used, and, secondly, there is no alternative. Areas identified as high priority need investigation in situ because corrective action is required for either the data collection system, or child health. Recommendations for improvements in resource management in child health care are: regionalisation of a unitary health care service, more timely data collection in geographically standardised regions, introduction of management objectives, and resource allocation guided by health status indicators.