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URC advocates increased support for child survival services and scale-up of preventive and curative child health services, such as vaccination and community case management of child illness. We apply quality improvement approaches to enhance the prompt and effective management of malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia—the three leading causes of child deaths in developing countries. Our work in child nutrition aims to prevent acute malnutrition and stunting.
Child Health at Work
URC has extensive experience improving care and strengthening local health systems to prevent and treat childhood illnesses at all system levels, including diarrheal disease, pneumonia, malaria and acute malnutrition. In Georgia’s Imereti Region, USAID ASSIST dramatically improved average compliance with best practices for management of acute respiratory infections among children in three hospitals, four ambulatory clinics, and 17 village ambulatory practices. The hospitals and clinics reached an average compliance of 98-100% and a 42-58% improvement in indicators after 32 months.
In Guatemala, the Nutri-Salud project operated within a continuum-of-care framework for integrated child health, focusing on the first 1,000 days. All first-level personnel were trained in opportune and complete vaccination of children from birth to 5 years, with an emphasis on children under 2 years. The project provided training in safe vaccination, cold-chain establishment and maintenance, and the epidemiology of preventable diseases with vaccination surveillance guidelines. As a result, healthcare providers are better able to identify and manage immune-preventable diseases, and Nutri-Salud observed a significant reduction in missed vaccinations.
In Iraq, where internal displacement has led to an increase in communicable diseases (including polio) among children and adults, URC’s team for the USAID Primary Health Care Project worked with the Ministry of Health to train more than 80 master trainers and 2,000 primary healthcare staff in Iraq’s Expanded Program on Immunization. With this expanded capacity, the ministry can continue rolling out training and increase the number of healthcare staff involved in direct responses to outbreaks. In 2015, the ministry adopted a national immunization plan, developed jointly with the project. The project also developed a series of public service announcements that aired on major TV channels with positive messages about breastfeeding, vaccination, good hygiene, and nutrition to promote child and maternal health.