‘Better medicines for children’ within the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness framework: a qualitative inquiry in Uganda
Hansen, Ebba H.
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The Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses is the main approach for treating children in more than 100 low income countries worldwide. In 2007, the World Health Assembly urged countries to integrate ‘better medicines for children’ into their essential medicines lists and treatment guidelines. WHO regularly provides generic algorithms for IMCI and publishes the Model Essential Medicines List with child-friendly medicines based on new evidence for member countries to adopt. However, the status of ‘better medicines for children’ within the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses approach in Uganda has not been studied. Methods: Qualitative interviews were conducted with: two officials from the ministry of health; two district health officials and, 22 health workers from public health facilities. Interview transcripts were manually analyzed for manifest and latent content. Results: Child-appropriate dosage formulations were not included in the package for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses and ministry officials attributed this to resource constraints and lack of initial guidance from the World Health Organization. Underfunding reportedly undercut efforts to: orient health workers; do support supervision and update treatment guidelines to reflect ‘better medicines for children’. Health workers reported difficulties in administering tablets and capsules to under-five children and that’s why they preferred liquid oral dosage formulations, suppositories and injections. Conclusions: The IMCI strategy in Uganda was not revised to reflect child-appropriate dosage formulations – a missed opportunity for improving the quality of management of childhood illnesses. Funding was an obstacle to the integration of child-appropriate dosage formulations. Ministry of health should prioritize funding for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses and revising the Essential Medicines and Health Supplies List of Uganda, the Uganda Clinical Guidelines and, the Treatment Charts for the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses to reflect child-appropriate dosage formulations.
- Medical and Health Sciences