Treating child wasting in Indonesia

A cost-effective approach to save lives

A mother holding her baby


Indonesia has one of the highest burdens of severe wasting in the world, one of the deadliest forms of malnutrition. Through an approach known as Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM), approximately >85per cent of severely wasted children can be successfully treated at home without requiring hospitalization, if identified early.

To understand the costs of implementing this approach, in 2021, a costing exercise was undertaken using data from two districts in the East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) province, comparing this model to the previous inpatient-only treatment model. The IMAM model of care was found to be 22 per cent more cost-efficient than the inpatient-only model and thus, can treat more children with the same financial envelope.

The study also indicated that improving treatment coverage may dramatically increase the cost-efficiency of IMAM services, suggesting that scale-up efforts should prioritize increasing coverage in high-burden areas. Given these findings, the IMAM approach is a proven cost-effective intervention and should be scaled up throughout the country.

UNICEF Indonesia, Ministry of Health, Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas
Publication date
English, Indonesian