Linking the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) and health information system (HIS) classifications: Issues and options

A. K. Rowe, G. Hirnschall, T. Lambrechts, J. Bryce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Differences in the terms used to classify diseases in the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) guidelines and for health information system (HIS) disease surveillance could easily create confusion among health care workers. If the equivalent terms in the two classifications are not clear to health workers who are following the guidelines, they may have problems in performing the dual activities of case management and disease surveillance. These difficulties could adversely affect an individual's performance as well as the overall effectiveness of the IMCI strategy or HIS surveillance, or both. We interviewed key informants to determine the effect of these differences between the IMCI and HIS classifications on the countries that were implementing the IMCI guidelines. Four general approaches for addressing the problem were identified: translating the IMCI classifications into HIS classifications; changing the HIS list to include the IMCI classifications; using both the IMCI and HIS classification systems at the time of consultations; and doing nothing. No single approach can satisfy the needs of all countries. However, if the short-term or medium-term goal of IMCI planners is to find a solution that will reduce the problem for health workers and is also easy to implement, the approach most likely to succeed is translation of IMCI classifications into HIS classifications. Where feasible, a modification of the health information system to include the IMCI classifications may also be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)988-995
Number of pages8
JournalBulletin of the World Health Organization
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Child health services
  • Delivery of integrated health care
  • Disease classification
  • Information systems
  • Translation guidelines

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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