Most countries in sub-Saharan Africa have now adopted integrated community case management (iCCM) of common childhood illnesses as a strategy to improve child health. In March 2014, the iCCM Task Force published an Indicator Guide for Monitoring and Evaluating iCCM: a 'menu' of recommended indicators with globally agreed definitions and methodology, to guide countries in developing robust iCCM monitoring systems. The Indicator Guide was conceived as an evolving document that would incorporate collective experience and learning as iCCM programmes themselves evolve. This article presents findings from two studies that examined the feasibility of collecting the Indicator Guide's 18 routine monitoring indicators with the iCCM monitoring systems that countries currently have in place. We reviewed iCCM monitoring tools, protocols and reports from a purposive sample of 10 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. We developed a scorecard system to assess which of the Indicator Guide's 18 routine monitoring indicators could be calculated with the given monitoring tools, and at which level of the health system the relevant information would be available. We found that the data needed to calculate many of the Indicator Guide's routine monitoring indicators are already being collected through existing monitoring systems, although much of these data are only available at health facility level and not aggregated to district or national levels. Our results highlight challenge of using supervision checklists as a data source, and the need for countries to maintain accurate deployment data for CHWs and CHW supervisors. We suggest that some of the recommended indicators need revising. Routine monitoring will be more feasible, effective and efficient if iCCM programmes focus on a smaller set of high-value indicators that are easy to measure, reliably interpreted and useful both for global and national stakeholders and for frontline health workers themselves.
Keywords: Community health workers; M&E indicators; integrated community case management; monitoring and evaluation; routine monitoring indicators.
© The Author 2016. Published by Oxford University Press in association with The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.