IRC: Use Combined Protocol to Treat Acute Malnutrition in Somalia

Somalia child examined for malnutrition. (PHOTO CREDIT: IRC)

The International Rescue Committee advocates for the use of a combined protocol treatment method to scale treatment and save the lives of Somalia’s acutely malnourished children.

Shashwat Saraf, IRC’s Emergency Director for East Africa, said the treatment can save the lives of millions of children.

“We also need to make sure every malnourished child gets access to treatment. Using proven and cost-effective solutions such as the combined protocol and community health workers to deliver treatment is by no means a ‘silver bullet’ to avert an all-out famine, but it is a critical piece of the puzzle to reach more children with lifesaving treatment when food crises hit,” said Saraf.

In Somalia, at least 1.5 million children under the age of five are acutely malnourished, with 385,000 at risk of dying without immediate care.  

According to a study conducted by the IRC and Mali Ministry of Health, the simplified acute malnutrition treatment is effective for children and those living in remote and food-insecure communities like Somalia.

“The scourge of acute malnutrition, which impacts the lives and livelihoods of children all over the world, has a clear solution,” said David Miliband, IRC’s President and CEO.

“We are facing record levels of hunger and malnutrition and it is unacceptable to continue to leave proven solutions on the shelf. We must bring this evidence to bear on the current crisis and deliver this lifesaving solution to the over 50 million children in need today.”

The combined protocol treatment was used to treat 27,800 children, with a 92 percent recovery rate.