UNICEF introduces disposable MUAC tapes for children amid fears of COVID-19 transmission

Modified, disposable, and eco-friendly, the new design of the malnutrition screening tape adheres to safety and hygiene measures under the COVID-19 precautions

MUAC tapes
16 October 2020

In the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF is turning to innovative solutions, seeking safe, new ways to replace the old ones. It is in this context that the UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa has developed a new design of an essential tool for malnutrition screening: the Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tape.

Malnutrition has been a serious threat to children in the region, years before the COVID-19 pandemic. However, there are fears of vulnerable children and their families being exposed to the risk of contracting COVID-19, while at the same time struggling with the risk of malnutrition. “While we still don’t know the direct impact of COVID-19 on malnourished children, we can only assume that malnourished children, who are immunocompromised, may be at a higher risk of becoming critically ill and/or die from COVID-19,” said Vilma Tyler, Senior Nutrition Specialist at UNICEF MENA

To protect the children from this risk, the new tapes are disposable, so that each family can take their tape home for a single-use, without the same tape being used on a number of other children as has previously been the case. Furthermore, the new tapes are made entirely from eco-friendly, biodegradable paper, with easy-to-follow pictorials printed on the back of the tapes using non-toxic ink.

muac tape specifications

“The tape can be printed through local print houses and distributed in the region and beyond,” said Silvia Uneddu, Regional Chief of Supply at UNICEF MENA.