BMJ Open 3:e001852 doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-001852
  • Public health
    • Research

Does implementation of the IMCI strategy have an impact on child mortality? A retrospective analysis of routine data from Egypt

  1. Rajiv Bahl4
  1. 1General Administration of Childhood Illness Programs, Primary Health Care Sector, Ministry of Health and Population, Cairo, Egypt
  2. 2Child and Adolescent Health (CAH), World Health Organization, Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean, Cairo, Egypt
  3. 3London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  4. 4Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (MCA), World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mona Ali Rakha; mona_rakha{at}
  • Received 30 July 2012
  • Revised 23 October 2012
  • Accepted 22 November 2012
  • Published 24 January 2013


Background Between 1999 and 2007, the Ministry of Health and Population in Egypt scaled up the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy in 84% of public health facilities.

Objectives This retrospective analysis, using routinely available data from vital registration, aimed to assess the impact of IMCI implementation between 2000 and 2006 on child mortality. It also presents a systematic and comprehensive approach to scaling-up IMCI interventions and information on quality of child health services, using programme data from supervision and surveys.

Methods We compared annual levels of under-five mortality in districts before and after they had started implementing IMCI. Mortality data were obtained from the National Bureau for Statistics for 254 districts for the years 2000–2006, 41 districts of which were excluded. For assessment of programme activities, we used information from the central IMCI data base, annual progress reports, follow-up after training visits and four studies on quality of child care in public health facilities.

Results Across 213 districts retained in the analysis, the estimated average annual rate of decline in under-five mortality was 3.3% before compared with 6.3% after IMCI implementation (p=0.0001). In 127 districts which started implementing IMCI between 2002 and 2005, the average annual rate of decline of under-five mortality was 2.6% (95% CI 1.1% to 4.1%) before compared with 7.3% (95% CI 5.8% to 8.7%) after IMCI implementation (p<0.0001). IMCI implementation also led to marked improvements in the quality of child health services.

Interpretation IMCI implementation was associated with a doubling in the annual rate of under-five mortality reduction (3.3% vs 6.3%). This mortality impact is plausible, since substantial improvements occurred in quality of care provided to sick children in health facilities implementing IMCI.

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