Objective: To review the available knowledge on epidemiology and diagnoses of acute infections in children aged 2 to 59 months in primary care setting and develop an electronic algorithm for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness to reach optimal clinical outcome and rational use of medicines.
Methods: A structured literature review in Medline, Embase and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Review (CDRS) looked for available estimations of diseases prevalence in outpatients aged 2-59 months, and for available evidence on i) accuracy of clinical predictors, and ii) performance of point-of-care tests for targeted diseases. A new algorithm for the management of childhood illness (ALMANACH) was designed based on evidence retrieved and results of a study on etiologies of fever in Tanzanian children outpatients.
Findings: The major changes in ALMANACH compared to IMCI (2008 version) are the following: i) assessment of 10 danger signs, ii) classification of non-severe children into febrile and non-febrile illness, the latter receiving no antibiotics, iii) classification of pneumonia based on a respiratory rate threshold of 50 assessed twice for febrile children 12-59 months; iv) malaria rapid diagnostic test performed for all febrile children. In the absence of identified source of fever at the end of the assessment, v) urine dipstick performed for febrile children <2 years to consider urinary tract infection, vi) classification of 'possible typhoid' for febrile children >2 years with abdominal tenderness; and lastly vii) classification of 'likely viral infection' in case of negative results.
Conclusion: This smartphone-run algorithm based on new evidence and two point-of-care tests should improve the quality of care of <5 year children and lead to more rational use of antimicrobials.