The project aims to support national efforts to treat acute malnutrition and reduce the number of young children who die each year in Malawi. UNICEF’s “Community-Based Therapeutic Care” (CTC) approach works to increase the ability of people to prevent, recognize and manage malnutrition at the community level. Malawi was one of the first countries to pilot the CTC approach to treat acute malnutrition and has been a strong proponent of CTC internationally. CTC is based on building capacity at existing health facilities and uses locally produced Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) to enable community-based treatment. RUTF has been recognized internationally as the new standard of acute malnutrition treatment. The project aims to enable 130 additional health facilities to provide effective treatment of severe malnutrition, to increase the number of children under five screened for malnutrition annually by one million, and to increase by 50% the number of children under five treated for malnutrition annually.
Results achieved as of the end of the project (December 2013) include: (1) upgrading of 97 health facilities in 9 districts to provide CTC services for treating acutely malnourished children, raising the total number of facilities offering CTC services in these districts from 99 (41% of facilities) to 196 (82% of facilities); (2) procurement of 1,267 metric tonnes of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food, on average 40% of Malawi’s annual requirements, sufficient for 53,820 malnourished children; (3) training 2,597 health workers, 345 clinicians and nurses, 4,698 community volunteers, and 2,509 community leaders in the management and treatment of acute childhood malnutrition; (4) introducing sex disaggregation for data collected on treatment of malnourished children; (5) distributing anthropometric equipment and CTC protocols and guidelines to 490 health facilities around the country; (6) improved quality of CTC services, with the death rate for children under treatment meeting international standards (under 3% case fatality). These results contribute to improving the capacity of health facilities in Malawi to provide effective treatment of severe malnutrition, and supporting the Government of Malawi’s efforts to reduce the number of young children who die each year in the country.