Hospital care for children
21 Mar 2017
This is the second edition of the World Health Organization (WHO) Pocket book of hospital care for children (Click to download), which was first published in 2005. It is a compilation of the updated WHO guidelines for the management of common childhood illnesses at the first-referral level in low-resource countries. It presents relevant, up-to-date, evidence-based clinical guidelines that can be used by clinicians in their daily work in hospitals with basic laboratory facilities and inexpensive medicines. The guidelines focus on inpatient management of children who are severely ill with conditions that are major causes of childhood mortality, such as neonatal illness, pneumonia, diarrhoea, fever (mainly malaria, meningitis and septicaemia), severe acute malnutrition and HIV/AIDS. It also includes guidance on common surgical problems, appropriate supportive care and monitoring of patients on the ward.
The Pocket book is part of a series of tools for improving the quality of care for severely ill children and is consistent with the Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI) guidelines for outpatient management of sick children. It is for use by doctors, senior nurses and other senior health workers who are responsible for the care of young children at the first referral level in developing countries.
The first edition of the Pocket book was reviewed by a WHO guidelines steering committee, which identified those chapters that required updating, comprising:
- revisions to align the Pocket book with recently published, WHO-approved guidelines; and
- priorities for which new information had become available, which was collated, analysed and synthesized before updating.
In the first category, recommendations approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee were incorporated. The second category required synthesis of evidence and updates consistent with new recommendations. The changes made are therefore based on published WHO guidelines and recommendations as of 2012, which are listed in the bibliography on p. 329; in addition, certain subsections were added or removed, others reorganized and some editorial changes made on the basis of feedback from Pocket book users. In response to users’ feedback and the popularity of the first edition, the presentation is similar.
All the changes were reviewed by external clinical experts and were approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee. A web version of the Pocket book will be updated regularly as new evidence with clinical implications emerges. Printed editions will be published every 5 years if there are substantial new changes. Users are therefore advised to check the WHO web site regularly for Pocket book updates (http://www.who.int/maternal_child_adolescent/en/).