Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

Caring for the sick child

Caring for newborns and children in the community

World Health Organization


These materials are designed to help lay community health workers (CHW) assess and treat sick children age 2 - 59 months. In this process, also known as "Community Case Management" (CCM) the CHW:

  • identifies and refers children with danger signs;
  • treats (or refers) pneumonia, diarrhoea and fever;
  • identifies and refers children with severe malnutrition to a health facility;
  • refers children with other problems that need medical attention; and
  • advises on home care for all sick children.

The selected interventions require the availability and use of four simple medicines: an antibiotic (usually amoxicillin), an antimalarial, oral rehydration salts (ORS) and zinc tablets.

For countries whose policies do not permit the use of antibiotics by CHWs, the materials can be adapted for example to include the management of diarrhoea and malaria at home, and referral of children with signs of pneumonia.

These materials are based on and are consistent with the training materials for workers in first-level health facilities, Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI).

The materials belong to a three-part package that can be used independently or sequentially. The two additional sets of materials are: Caring for the newborn at home, and Caring for the healthy child's growth and development.

Related publications