Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health

WHO, UNICEF, and SCN informal consultation on community-based management of severe malnutrition in children

SCN Nutrition Policy Paper No. 21

World Health Organization; UNICEF; UN System Standing Committee on Nutrition

Publication details

Number of pages: 108
Publication date: 2006
Languages: English



Severe malnutrition is a life threatening condition requiring urgent treatment. Until recently, the recommendation was to refer these children to hospital to receive therapeutic diets along with medical care. The situation changed recently with the advent of highly fortified, ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTF) which allows the management in the community of large numbers of children who are severely malnourished without medical complications.

A meeting of experts was organized by the WHO Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (CAH) and the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development (NHD), UNICEF, and the UN Standing committee on Nutrition in Geneva 21-23 November 2005 to review recent developments and formulate recommendations.

In preparation of this meeting, four background papers were commissioned by CAH and NHD. A fifth paper was written by an NGO. These background papers and the meeting report are included in this Supplement of the Food and Nutrition Bulletin:

  • A review of methods to detect cases of severely malnourished children in the community for their admission into community-based therapeutic care programs
  • Efficacy and effectiveness of community-based treatment of severe malnutrition
  • Key issues in the success of community-based management of severe malnutrition
  • Local production and provision of ready-to-use therapeutic food for the treatment of severe childhood malnutrition
  • The sustainability of Community-based Therapeutic Care (CTC) in non-acute emergency contexts
  • Proceedings of the WHO, UNICEF, and SCN Informal Consultation on Community-based Management of Severe Malnutrition in Children.

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