Evaluating the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness counselling skills of professional nurses in the North West Province of South Africa
Background: The Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) strategy provides guidelines for supporting and improving the health system to reduce under-5 children’s mortality rates. This strategy specifically assists professional nurses with the case management of children aged birth–5 years.
Aim: The purpose of this study was to investigate how professional nurses provided counselling to caregivers of under-5 children based on the IMCI strategy in Primary Health Care facilities of one district in the North West Province of South Africa.
Setting: Primary Health Care (PHC) facilities of one district in the North West Province.
Method: A quantitative, descriptive and observational design was used. Counselling provided by the professional nurses was observed and a checklist was completed. This IMCI counselling checklist was based on aspects in the counselling section of the Health Facility Survey, formulated according to the IMCI strategy’s requirements.
Results: Counselling that focused on feeding, administration of medication and counselling skills used during the consultation were good. However, counselling of caregivers of children aged 13 months to 5 years could be improved and the caregivers’ health status should also be addressed.
Conclusion: Counselling provided to caregivers of under-5 children regarding feeding, administering of medication and caregivers’ health status used effective communication skills. However, technicalities of feeding such as lactation and nutritional guidance posed challenges.