Bulletin of the World Health Organization

Community case management of pneumonia: at a tipping point?

David R Marsh, Kate E Gilroy, Renee Van de Weerdt, Emmanuel Wansi, Shamim Qazi

Pneumonia is the leading cause of child mortality globally. Community case management (CCM) of pneumonia by community health workers is a feasible, effective strategy to complement facility-based management for areas that lack access to facilities. We surveyed experts in the 57 African and Asian countries with the highest levels and rates of childhood mortality to assess current policies, implementation and plans regarding CCM of pneumonia. About one-third (20/54) of countries reported policies supporting CCM for pneumonia, and another third (18/54) reported no policy against the strategy. Half (27/54) the countries reported some implementation of CCM for pneumonia, but often on a small scale. A few countries sustain a large-scale programme. Programmes, community health workers and policy parameters varied greatly among implementing countries. About half (12/26)of non-implementing countries are planning to move ahead with the strategy. Momentum is gathering for CCM for pneumonia as a strategy to address the pneumonia treatment gap and help achieve Millennium Development Goal 4. Challenges remain to: (1) introduce this strategy into policy and implement it in high pneumonia burden countries; (2) increase coverage of this strategy in countries currently implementing it; and (3) better define and monitor implementation at the country level.