Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI)

Nigeria ranks second out of five countries that together account for nearly half of all deaths of children under the age of five worldwide*. The leading three causes of under five deaths in Nigeria are pneumonia (17%), diarrhea (11%) and malaria (17%)* with a disproportionate number of these deaths occurring in Northern states. These diseases are easily treatable and prevented with access to quality essential medicines, including ORS and zinc for diarrhea, amoxicillin for pneumonia, and long-lasting insecticide treated nets (LLINs) and artemisinin-combination therapy (ACT) for malaria. While the Nigerian government, development partners, NGOs, and social marketers have laid the groundwork to improve the supply chain and enabling environment for these lifesaving commodities, demand generation at the community level to improve care-seeking behaviors remains a challenge to scaling up commodity use and reducing deaths from these diseases.

NIFAA's Approach

NIFAA's Faith Engagement for Integrated Community Case Management (FEI) program will pilot a system for improving health outcomes for children in Nigeria through intensive social behavior change communication, and healthcare referrals by faith leaders, with a focus on pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria.

NIFAA has selected the target states of Abia and Niger, NIFAA already works in both of these states with funding from the Global Fund for SBCC and has a large cadre of faith community health mobilizers trained in malaria prevention and education. This existing network will help accelerate implementation of this project.

Niger State
Abia State


Over the course of the two-year program, NIFAA: FEI will scale up social behavior change communication (SBCC), community mobilization, and clinic referrals in support of and to reinforce iCCM efforts targeted at the leading causes of childhood mortality—pneumonia, diarrhea and malaria--in Nigeria.  The iCCM approach relies on cadres of health care workers to provide health care services, but community mobilization from trusted sources is essential.  Successful iCCM implementation requires that the communities where iCCM is implemented are informed about and demonstrate a demand for services that community health workerss provide. NIFAA: FEI proposes to provide that education, drive demand, and even overcome some of the cultural barriers that have traditionally hindered mothers and children from receiving critical health messages and services through the training and scale-up of community health mobilizers from the influential faith community.

*Figures from

UNICEF Committing to Child Survival: A Promise Renewed Progress Report 2014, p. 47.