Publications & Reports

Quality of care for children with acute respiratory infections in health facilities: a comparative analysis of assessment tools.

Quach A, Tosif S, Graham SM, von Mollendorf C, Mulholland K, Graham H, Duke T, Russell FM; ARI Review group
Asia-Pacific Health Group, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Victoria, Australia.


Background: Severe childhood pneumonia requires treatment in hospital by trained health care workers. It is therefore important to determine if health facilities provide quality health services for children with acute respiratory infections (ARI), including pneumonia. Using established indicators from WHO to measure quality of care (QoC) as a reference standard, this review aims to evaluate how well existing tools assess QoC for children presenting to health facilities with ARI. Methods: Existing assessment tools identified from a published systematic literature review that evaluated QoC assessment tools for children (<15 years) in health facilities for all health conditions were included in this ARI-specific review. 27 ARI-specific indicators or “quality measures” from the WHO “Standards for improving quality of care for children and young adolescents in health facilities” were selected for use as a reference standard to assess QoC for children presenting to health facilities with ARI symptoms. Each included assessment tool was evaluated independently by two paediatricians to determine how many of the WHO ARI quality measures were assessable by the tool. The assessment tools were then ranked in order of percentage of ARI quality measures assessable. Results: Nine assessment tools that assessed QoC for children attending health facilities were included. Two hospital care tools developed by WHO had the most consistency with ARI-specific indicators, assessing 22/27 (81.5%) and 20/27 (74.1%) of the quality measures. The remaining tools were less consistent with the ARI-specific indicators, including between zero to 16 of the 27 quality measures. The most common indicators absent from the tools were assessment of appropriate use of pulse oximetry and administration of oxygen, how often oxygen supply was unavailable, and mortality rates. Conclusions: The existing WHO hospital-based QoC assessment tools are comprehensive but could be enhanced by improved data quality around oxygen availability and appropriate use of pulse oximetry and oxygen administration. Any tools, however, should be considered within broader assessments of QoC, rather than utilised in isolation. Further adaptation to local settings will improve feasibility and facilitate progress in the delivery of quality health care for children with ARI. Registration: The protocol of the original systematic review was registered in PROSPERO ID: CRD42020175652.

Link to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Journal of Global Health
  • Published: 26/03/2022
  • Volume: 12
  • Pagination: 10003