Workshop on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness Computerized Adaptation and Training Tool (ICATT)
In the Western Pacific Region, an estimated 766 000 children die every year before they reach their 5th birthday from common preventable and treatable conditions which could have been avoided if timely and appropriate care were available for those children. The WHO/UNICEF Regional Child Survival Strategy identifies integrated management of sick children as one of the key components of the Essential Package for Child Survival. Integrated management of childhood illness (IMCI) is implemented in over 100 countries worldwide including 14 countries in the Western Pacific Region. While the coverage and scope of IMCI has been steadily expanding, the pace has been slow in some settings. Among the common challenges have been: (1) the periodic updating of the IMCI guidelines with new recommendations and the reproduction of new materials; (2) the overall large number of health workers that still await training and the cost of covering their training needs; (3) the need to ensure that knowledge and skills of trained health workers are retained and updated throughout the years.
The IMCI Computerized Adaptation and Training Tool (ICATT) was developed by WHO in collaboration with Novartis Foundation to partly address the challenges faced by countries in scaling up IMCI. The ICATT is a new, innovative computerized software application that provides an opportunity for easy adaptation of the most updated generic guidelines at national and subnational levels. ICATT can be translated into various languages and used in a range of environments and settings with the potential to significantly increase training coverage as it allows computer-, Internet- and satellite-based facilitation that will be useful for in-service/pre-service training and distance learning programmes. The demand for more rapid scaling up of IMCI and greater utilization of new technology makes ICATT application in the Region important, warranting an orientation workshop on ICATT.
At the end of the workshop, the participants obtained the latest technical updates on IMCI and familiarized themselves with ICATT to facilitate the periodic IMCI adaptation and updating process; discussed various training approaches being implemented to scale up IMCI and explored ways that ICATT can be used for IMCI training in both pre-service and in-service settings at country level; and outlined a plan for the early application of ICATT in countries of the Region.
The orientation workshop renewed interest in reviewing IMCI implementation in countries. ICATT was regarded as an appropriate alternative tool for scaling up various essential components of IMCI such as: adaptation, updating and dissemination of new technical guidelines; and expanding the coverage of both in-service and pre-service training. Participants agreed that the adaptation and updating of the existing national IMCI guidelines should be completed as a necessary first step. Stakeholders should be oriented on ICATT as its implementation would require some logistics requirements, like computers, and reorientation of facilitators.
It was recommended that the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific should continue to coordinate activities to ensure technical support, capacity building and mobilization of resources. Networks among countries with similar characteristics or geographical accessibility should be established to provide support for ICATT implementation: Big network (China, Malaysia, Mongolia, Philippines); "Mekong" network (Cambodia, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Viet Nam); "Pacific" network (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands). The ICATT website provides a forum for discussion and continued exchange of knowledge. Other agencies which participated in the Workshop were proposed to have a more active role in IMCI and ICATT implementation as follows: Yonsei University for technological support; UNICEF for implementation support; and Menzies School of Health Research for monitoring and evaluation.