Special Supplement on integrated Community Case Management
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Direct observation (DO) with re-examination (RE) by a skilled clinician is a rigorous method for assessing health worker performance, but is not always feasible. We assessed the performance of 131 community health workers in Malawi in community case management of sick children with cough and fast breathing, fever, and diarrhea. We compared estimates of correct treatment measured through DO with RE (n = 382 cases) to DO only (n = 382 cases), register review (n = 1,219 cases), and case scenarios (n = 917 cases). Estimates of correct treatment of uncomplicated fever and diarrhea measured through DO only, register review, and case scenarios were within 9 percentage points of DO with RE estimates, while estimates for uncomplicated cough and fast breathing, and severe illness were substantially higher than DO with RE (12–51 percentage points above the estimate). Those planning for community health worker assessments in community case management can use these results to make an informed choice of methods on the basis of their objectives and the local context.

[open-access] This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene's Re-use License which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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  • Received : 20 Jun 2012
  • Accepted : 19 Aug 2012

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