Primary health care for children and adolescents: guidelines for health promotion, disease prevention and management from the newborn period to adolescence (WHO 2022)

This Pocket Book is for use by doctors, nurses and other health workers who are responsible for the care of children and adolescents at the primary health care level. It summarizes guidance on how to manage – and when to refer – children and adolescents presenting with common complaints and conditions. It includes information to enable primary health care providers to coordinate the continued care of children and adolescents with long-term conditions and diseases managed by specialists. Preventive and promotive measures from the newborn period to adolescence include advice on the timing and content of well-child visits, the promotion of early childhood development and health messages for adolescents.

This Pocket Book aims to improve the diagnosis and management of common conditions in children and adolescents that can be managed at the outpatient level. It helps to improve the use of laboratory and other diagnostic measures and the rational use of essential drugs and equipment. For children requiring referral, it links to its sister publication, the Pocket Book of Hospital Care for Children. Both are presented in a handy format for daily work to help guide examination, case management and counselling.

The recommendations of this Pocket Book apply across the WHO European Region and may be adapted by countries to suit their specific circumstances. The Pocket Book summarizes information from existing WHO and other evidence-based guidelines. Details of the evidence on which it is based can be found on the WHO/EURO website. It will be updated regularly as new evidence emerges.

The Pocket Book enables health care providers to deliver on the promise of quality primary health care. Its focus on evidence-based practices and prevention ensures that children and adolescents receive the care they need and avoids unnecessary treatment and hospitalization.