The studies presented in this Supplement of the Bulletin of the World Health Organization have helped to improve the guidelines for integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) and the WHO/UNICEF training course for teaching these guidelines to health workers in first-level health facilities. The findings of these studies and the lessons learned from early use of the training course in selected countries are being used to guide the adaptation of these guidelines to particular country circumstances. A broader IMCI strategy has been defined and is currently being implemented. The objectives of this strategy are to reduce child morbidity and mortality in developing countries, and to enhance child growth and development. IMCI activities in countries are therefore organized to improve health workers' skills, as described in the articles in this Supplement, improve the health system, and improve family and community practices. This concluding article on the IMCI guidelines draws together the results of field studies on their effectiveness, and identifies key issues that need to be addressed. It also describes the process for adapting the guidelines to specific country situations, and presents the broader IMCI strategy and the status of its implementation in several countries (as of May 1997).