14.5.1  Follow-up visits

In the earlier study sessions in this Module, you learned that certain problems require follow-up visits in a specific number of days. For example, pneumonia, dysentery and acute ear infection require follow-up visits to ensure that an antibiotic is working. Persistent diarrhoea requires follow-up visits to ensure that feeding changes are working. Some other problems, such as fever or pus draining from the eye, require follow-up visits only if the problem persists.

At the end of the sick child visit, you should tell the mother when to return for a follow-up visit. Sometimes a child may need follow-up visits for more than one problem. In such cases, tell the mother the earliest definite time to return. Also explain to her that she may need to come for an earlier follow-up visit if a problem such as fever persists. Table 14.3 below sets out the advice you should give the mother on follow-up visits according to the child’s illness.

Table 14.3  Summary of follow-up times for different problems.
If the child has the following illnessReturn for follow-up in:

∙  Pneumonia

∙  Dysentry

∙  Malaria, if fever persists

∙  Fever, malaria unlikely, if fever persists

∙  Fever, no malaria (no malaria risk), if fever persists

∙  Measles with eye or mouth complications

2 days

∙  Persistent diarrhoea

∙  Acute ear infection

∙  Chronic ear infection

∙  Feeding problem

∙  Any other illness, if not improving

5 days

∙  Uncomplicated severe malnutrition

7 days

∙  Confirmed/confirmed symptomatic HIV infection (first follow-up)

∙  Suspected symptomatic HIV infection (first follow-up)

∙  Possible HIV infection (first follow-up)

∙  Anaemia

14 days

∙  Very low weight for age/moderate acute malnutrition

∙  Suspected symptomatic HIV infection (routine monthly follow-up)

∙  Possible HIV infection (routine monthly follow-up)

30 days

14.5  Advise the mother when to return to see a health worker

14.5.2  Immediate return visits