Investing in Systems, Scaling-up Care

The expansion of Nigeria’s integrated management of acute malnutrition programme


Nigeria’s integrated management of acute malnutrition (IMAM) programme is the largest in the world. From 2009 to 2020, the programme was scaled up from less than 7,000 children treated to almost 400,000 children. The IMAM programme is part of a more comprehensive nutrition strategy that prioritizes the prevention of malnutrition first, while providing life-saving treatment and care when prevention falls short. Through investments in strengthening health systems and harnessing the support of partners and communities, Nigeria achieved a 50-fold expansion in the number of treatment sites over this time, building the foundations of a high-quality, sustainable programme. Nigeria’s journey to integrate the care of children with acute malnutrition into health systems offers important lessons for improving programme quality and national ownership. It also demonstrates how investments in systems strengthening can build resilience and help countries sustain and scale-up life-saving nutrition services when emergencies strike.

Cover page showing three mothers carrying their babies and smiling
UNICEF Nigeria
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