This project seeks to save the lives of 17,500 girls and boys under five by helping to identify and treat severe acute malnutrition, a major cause of death and illness in children. The project supports the scale-up of Community-based Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) services in Malawi. CMAM is a globally accepted system for treating severe acute malnutrition that involves early detection through community screening, treatment of most cases on an out-patient basis using ready-to-use therapeutic foods, and referral of complicated cases to specialized in-patient care. The project aims to target critical gaps in the scale-up of CMAM in Malawi identified by UNICEF in collaboration with Malawi’s Ministry of Health. The project also seeks to support innovative measures that can be taken in the short term to improve the capacity of Malawi’s Ministry of Health to effectively and sustainably manage CMAM as a public health program. Some project activities include: (1) procuring 220 metric tonnes of ready-to-use therapeutic food; (2) training health workers, including administrators, front-line health workers and community volunteers and leaders, in the new World Health Organization guidelines for identifying severe acute malnutrition; (3) ensuring a more effective and timely supply of ready-to-use therapeutic foods; and (4) providing technical assistance and training to help the Malawi Ministry of Health to produce the first, fully costed five-year forward operating plan for CMAM.
The expected intermediate outcomes for this project include: (1) increased coverage of Community Management of Acute Malnutrition services for severe acute malnutrition among girls and boys under five; and (2) improved quality of Community Management of Acute Malnutrition services for severe acute malnutrition among under-five girls and boys
Results achieved at the end of this project include: (1) Reduced the total number of under-five mortalities by 11,280 in seven districts; (2) increased the estimated number of malnutrition cases treated from 32% to 58% in target districts: (3) improved quality of services, with cure rates for acutely malnourished children continuing to meet international (WHO) standards; (4) procured 284.3 tonnes of ready-to-use therapeutic food, representing 43.1% of national needs in 2014-15 and sufficient for 56,484 malnourished children; (5) trained 700 health workers, 396 nurses and clinicians, 85 district trainers, 1,380 community volunteers, and 414 community leaders in seven districts in new World Health Organization (WHO) protocols for the identification of malnutrition (6) developed a national response plan focused on improved Community Management of Acute Malnutrition (CMAM) services to address high death rates in certain districts’ nutrition rehabilitation units; (7) trained 786 health worker, 86 mobile champions and 700 mobile agents in the use of mobile text messaging to report malnutrition cases; and (8) developed a gender equality strategy for CMAM.