Ciro Franco

 {Photo credit: MSH.}MSH representatives attend the iCCM Symposium. From left to right: Jean Fidele Ilunga Mubay (DRC Ministry of Health), David Collins, Pascaline Hareimana (MSH/Burundi), Papy Luntadila (MSH/DRC), Ciro Franco, Jane Briggs, Naia Embeke Narcisse (MSH/DRC), Colin Gilmartin, Zina Jarrah, Uzaib Saya.Photo credit: MSH.

In the absence of effective treatment and access to quality health services, diarrhea, malaria, and pneumonia remain the leading causes of child mortality in sub-Saharan Africa and cause nearly 44 percent of deaths worldwide in children under five years old. To improve access to life-saving treatment among children, many African countries have begun implementing and scaling-up integrated community case management (iCCM), a strategy that focuses on the delivery of timely and low-cost interventions at the community level by community health workers.

Understanding the potential impact and the importance of iCCM as an effective means to reduce child mortality, more than 400 researchers, donors, government, implementers, and partners representing 35 sub-Saharan African countries convened on March 3-5 in Accra, Ghana for the 2014 Integrated Community Case Management (iCCM) Evidence Review Symposium.

The objectives of the Symposium were to review the current state of the art and evidence of iCCM implementation and to assist African countries to integrate and take action on key iCCM findings presented during the evidence symposium. Among those in attendance were 10 Management Sciences for Health (MSH) representatives from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the United States.

{Photo credit: Rui Peres, Uganda}Photo credit: Rui Peres, Uganda

The Guardian's Global Development Professionals Network organized an online conversation with experts on improving child health through community-based care, namely integrated community case management (ICCM).

"ICCM is a key investment because many children and families live too far from a viable health center to reach needed basic care in time that could save the child’s life," said MSH's Global Technical Lead on Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health Ciro Franco, MD, MPH, during the September 12 discussion. "ICCM should start with the full consensus of the communities and an assessment of the support system behind it that will enable the community health workers to do their job in an efficient and effective way."

In addition to Dr. Franco (of ), the expert panel included:

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