State of the Evidence 2021 - Modifications Aiming to Optimize Acute Malnutrition Management in Children under Five

Nearly 50 million children under five suffer from acute malnutrition, or extreme hunger, each year. These children typically receive treatment through a program called community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM). However, less than 20% of children with the most severe form of acute malnutrition have access to treatment. To address the challenges driving this gap, organizations (including Action Against Hunger) and governments have tested and implemented a range of modifications and innovations to standard CMAM protocols, known as “simplified approaches.” These approaches aim to identify acute malnutrition earlier, remove barriers to accessing treatment, simplify protocols, maximize cost-effectiveness, and ultimately reach more children and save more lives.

This “State of the Evidence 2021” document offers a high-level summary of existing evidence to date on each of six innovative protocol modifications. Each summary objectively presents findings related to effectiveness, operational considerations, costs and cost-effectiveness, successes and challenges, and areas for future research and learning. Our goal is to encourage and guide evidence-based decision making on programming, policy, and innovation related to simplified approaches, not only within Action Against Hunger but also for any organization or government ministry working to treat acute malnutrition.