Testing a new approach to treat severe acute malnutrition

a mother carries her child on her back while carrying a box of food packets in Sokoto Nigeria

Severe acute malnutrition—a condition often caused by acute food shortage or infection—affects at least 50 million children each year, most under the age of 2. Although many with this life-threatening condition can be treated in outpatient health centers, only 1 in 10 children in need receive treatment each year. The current model of care is effective but expensive, and requires regular visits to the health center which can be time-consuming for both staff and families. In some areas, caregivers may walk several hours each way to get their children the care they need.

Is there another model of treatment that can increase access and save lives while reducing the burden on health center staff and families? To explore this question, Dr. Sheila Isanaka, with support from Epicentre, Médecins Sans Frontières, and The Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, launched a study in Sokoto, Nigeria to test a new approach.