A National Program for Control of Acute Respiratory Tract Infections: The Philippine Experience

Maturing programs on child immunization and diarrheal diseases, a community-based research project, and a rational drug-use program facilitated the launching in 1989 of a nationwide Philippine Control of Acute Respiratory Infections program (Phil-CARI). From 1990 to 1991 the Phil-CARI expanded rapidly, training >80% of its middle managers and frontline health care providers on the case-management protocols of the World Health Organization for acute respiratory infection. Multiple donors and good collaboration with various societies and medical schools assisted the program. However, by 1992, there were difficulties in maintaining training quality, follow-up, and supervision. Donor assistance dwindled and the health care delivery system decentralized. Government procurement systems were unable to meet the logistics demands of the program. The monitoring and evaluation system was inadequate to measure impact. The Phil-CARI provides lessons in searching for more sustainable approaches and systems to meet the various demands of a nationwide ARI control program and to create the desired impact.