Turkey and Syria earthquake: evidence-based innovations and guidance for acute crisis response.

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Principal Investigator: Naoko Kozuki, International Rescue Committee


The combined protocol for acute malnutrition simplifies the existing treatment protocol of community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM) by 1) treating severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) as one condition on a spectrum, 2) provides one product for treatment (ready-to-use therapeutic food, RUTF), 3) diagnoses children on mid-arm circumference and oedema, and 4) simplifies the dosage protocol (two RUTF sachets/day for MUAC <115mm, one RUTF sachet/day for MUAC 115-<125mm). While this is a protocol endorsed by the World Food Program (WFP) in emergency contexts, there is limited evidence on its effectiveness and a lack of understanding of the barriers to adoption in crisis-affected contexts

The objectives of the study are:

  1. To determine if acutely malnourished children (6-59 months) treated under the combined protocol meet the Sphere minimum standard of 75% recovery rate in a nutrition clinic in Karaan District, Somalia.
  2. To document the clinical staff’s perspectives on ease, workload, and effectiveness of implementing the combined protocol compared to the CMAM protocol.
  3. To conduct policy analysis on use of the combined protocol in five different food-crisis affected contexts to describe how the protocol was presented regarding its benefits, requirements for implementation, and boundaries. This analysis will be conducted ultimately to understand requirements for adaptation and adoption of the protocol in different contexts, and examine the factors that influence policy change.

Expected Outcomes

We anticipate our study will show that health outcomes of those treated by the combined protocol meet the Sphere humanitarian standards for both SAM and MAM treatment (≥75% recovery, <15% default, <3% death for MAM, same standards except <10% death for SAM). If we observe that the new protocol meets Sphere humanitarian standards and better understand the policy context for uptake of the protocol, we can effectively advocate for the protocol to be rolled out in more contexts where logistical challenges prevent or hinder effective implementation of CMAM. Under the dire conditions of the food crisis-affected contexts, an effective and efficient integrated treatment model has potential to increase treatment coverage, reduce severe cases, decrease cost, and reduce preventable deaths without a need for dramatic changes to the current infrastructure or logistical systems.


Latest Updates

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Jun 2019

As a part of a study examining policymaking around national acute malnutrition protocols, national respondents expressed concerns about research and pilot projects not always being aligned with national priorities. This speaks to the need to invest in local research institutions that have consistent links and access to national dialogues and priorities. There is a need for longer-term time and financial investment for research capacity building in fragile and conflict-affected contexts to bring about meaningful change to the concerns raised about the national-level priorities and voices being excluded.


Tackling the Burden of Acute Malnutrition

Aug 2018

For uncomplicated cases of acute malnutrition treatment for children between ages 6-59 months, different treatment protocols are in place for those categorized as severely malnourished and as moderately malnourished. In…

Ibrahim Mahmoud, an IRC clinical officer in Mogadishu, examines a malnourished child who has been hooked up to an intravenous drip bottle. Credit - Peter Biro at IRC


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