A Global Public Health Toolkit for Donors: Saving Children’s Lives through Community Case Management

Part of our series Child Survival Guidance 
Millions of children around the world live in remote areas where care from trained health professionals is more than a day’s walk away. Lack of access and shortages of health workers and medications result in preventable child deaths from treatable diseases like malaria, diarrhea, and pneumonia. One solution? Community case management models engage lay health workers in home-based care and referrals, reaching otherwise unreachable children and saving lives.

Community case management (CCM) programs deliver life-saving interventions to children living in remote areas.  In communities more than 5 km from a healthcare facilities, health workers receive training and supervision so they can safely provide essential services including basic health education and prevention, diagnostics, treatment, and referrals.

One example of this approach in practice comes from Mali, where Save the Children worked with the Ministry of Health to train and provide materials to local health workers. Workers received kits allowing them to offer families access to oral rehydration therapy for diarrhea, antimalarial medications, and other life-saving therapies. The new model brought significant health improvements: surveys found  that the use of appropriate malaria treatment for children in the intervention region increased from 24% in 2002 to 56% in 2004. The model is affordable as well– we estimate that the cost per child life saved was approximately $1000.

For more information on the CCM approach, click here to find our brief case study, which links to organizations employing the model.  For a more comprehensive overview, see our guide Lifting the Burden of Malaria, pages 18-19.

While community case management represents a live saving tool, child mortality stems from many causes.  To learn about other high-impact approaches addressing issues such as child nutrition and home-based newborn care, visit our full guidance to learn how you can help create a world where every child celebrates their fifth birthday.