Incorporating prevention into community-based management of acute malnutrition: Insights from Mali and Burkina Faso

Globally, 52 million children suffer from acute malnutrition. Children with moderate acute malnutrition are 3.4 times more likely to die than well-nourished children, and those with severe acute malnutrition are 11.6 times more likely. Acute malnutrition kills 875,000 children under the age of five annually.

The introduction a decade ago of Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) made the screening and treatment of children with severe acute malnutrition more accessible: Community health workers, often volunteers (CHVs), conduct first-line screening and refer cases to a health facility for treatment. Children with severe acute malnutrition (and in some countries, children with moderate acute malnutrition) but without medical complications are treated through an outpatient program using energy-dense supplements that provide all necessary micronutrients.

Yet two key barriers limit the effectiveness of CMAM: Low participation in screening and low uptake and adherence to treatment.

Photo Credit: Lieven Huybregts/IFPRI