Expected Completion On:
Medical Education on Childhood Illness
One of the observations made by the visiting doctors in 2019 was that childhood illnesses are not always being correctly diagnosed and therefore not properly or promptly treated. Fortunately, the Tanzanian medical curriculum was updated in recent years to train physicians in the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) for infants to children 5 years of age based on the World Health Organization and UNICEF guidelines. IMCI is a methodology broadly used by doctors around the globe for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of childhood illness. It is extremely important because children in the developing world seeking medical treatment are often suffering from more than one condition, including malnutrition, making a single diagnosis impossible. IMCI is an integrated strategy, which takes into account the variety of factors that put children at serious risk. It ensures the combined treatment of the major childhood illnesses, emphasizing prevention of disease through immunization and improved nutrition.
Unfortunately, most of our practitioners did not receive that training when they were in school. Karimu is helping to correct that by funding training for the doctors and head nurses in Ayalagaya, Arri, Berim, Dabil, Ufana, Riroda, Mamire, Endsako, and Duru within the district as selected by the District Secretary of Health. The trainers are district physicians who have been certified in this training.
The curriculum includes symptoms and treatment for diarrhea, colds, flu, fever, bacterial infections, malaria, pneumonia, respiratory disease, dehydration, malnutrition, failure to feed, dysentery, meningitis, mastoiditis, ear infection, anemia, and HIV.
In addition, the trainers will provide practical training in the clinic and will visit quarterly for 12 months to ensure integration of the material. The participants will have consulting access via a WhatsApp group to answer questions as they arise and monthly reports must be provided to track their progress. The reports will come to Karimu and the Ministry of Health and are designed to a) assess the management of the patient, b) track the impact on the top 10 diseases, c) and assess overall quality of care.
The first supervision report indicates that all facilities have the supplies needed for taking vital signs. Over 90% of vital signs were taken without reminding staff. All patient records were readily available. Children were diagnosed with respiratory infections, ear infections, diarrheal diseases, malaria, malnutrition, and anemia. Some additional tools may be needed for assessing malnutrition which will be included in the malnutrition intervention in 2022.
Update November 2022: While we were very happy with the initial training, we have been disappointed with the follow up supervision. It is not economically advantageous for the original trainers to travel back to Ayalagaya and Arri, so they haven’t done so. We conducted our own assessment of the clinics in September and October and concluded:
Children are having their vitals checked and recorded properly
Clinics have the equipment and supplies necessary to diagnose and treat children
Healthcare workers have a general knowledge of the integrated management of childhood illnesses, but with staff turnover, there is inconsistent knowledge.
Medical staff need additional training and supervision, preferably on site, to reinforce the training.
We are working with the District Medical Officer to arrange some onsite supplementary training and supervision.
Proper diagnosis and treatment of childhood illnesses
Reduced child and infant mortality
Improved child health and development
Learn more about Karimu Health Program .