14 February 2023

Integrating Treatment Services for Severe Acute Malnutrition into the National Health System

Integrating treatment services for Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) into national health systems is critical for programmes to scale up and ensure that all children in need have access to the services. For integration to work, governments must lead the process. The Philippines is an example of a country that has made considerable progress over the last ten years. This report documents the progress in integrating treatment services for SAM into the Philippines' national health system. The report also describes the challenges and lessons learned in the integration process and provides recommendations for strengthening the quality of services. The Philippines Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (PIMAM) programme was launched in 2011. PIMAM services have been scaled up in a phased approach to cover all 81 provinces of the country. Other notable achievements in the integration process include embedding PIMAM in national laws and guidelines, and increased resource allocation for PIMAM, which has resulted in PIMAM supplies being fully funded by the government. PIMAM indicators have also been adopted and integrated into the national health information system. The Philippines' experience provides important insights and lessons that could be helpful for other countries in East Asia and the Pacific region, where mainstreaming treatment services for SAM into routine health systems is underway.
06 July 2022

Wasting – Simplifying Management during the COVID-19 Pandemic

“Globally, 1 in 5 deaths among children under the age of 5 is attributed to severe wasting – also known as severe acute malnutrition – making it one of the top threats to child survival, robbing the lives of more than 1 million children each year.” ( Child Health Alert 2022 ) Wasting is when a child is too thin for their height. It is caused by a…, Simplifying the management of child wasting, Early in the pandemic essential nutrition services were reduced by more than 30 per cent in the region. Management of child wasting involves health workers finding children in their homes, communities and clinics before they become too sick. Home visits and weekly visits to clinics by families to receive therapeutic foods were almost stopped…, Mother or family MUAC (mid-upper arm circumference), The MUAC tape is an easy way of assessing a child’s nutrition status by measuring the arm. Parents are trained to measure MUAC, leading to earlier detection of faltering growth and seeking treatment, more family involvement and, in the case of COVID-19, less direct contact and risk to health workers.  In Indonesia, UNICEF piloted ‘Mother MUAC’ in…, Involving Community Health Workers, Another key change was to enable key tasks in caring for children with wasting to be undertaken by community workers who work directly in communities and are more accessible to families rather than health facility-based workers which involves families walking to their closest health centre. These changes were conducted in Indonesia, Philippines…