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Treating acute malnutrition

Treating severe acute malnutrition |  Action Against Hunger

Treating acute malnutrition

Acute malnutrition is one of the world’s most serious but least addressed problems: 52 million children under five in the world today are suffering from the condition. Severe acute malnutrition, the most serious form of hunger, is deadly if left untreated and threatens millions of lives each year. For young children, the consequences of acute malnutrition are particularly severe and reach far into the future. 

Our teams of nutrition experts detect, treat and prevent acute malnutrition in children so they can regain their health and fulfil their potential.

Our methods for identifying and treating malnourished children are internationally renowned, having pioneered revolutionary nutrition products and field tested treatment protocols that have become industry standards. 

For the first time in history, game changing solutions are within our reach and we can now treat children at home, and save lives at a scale never before imagined. 

What we do


Evaluating nutritional needs

To assess the root causes of a malnutrition outbreak, we collect baseline data on key nutritional indicators like resources, cultural practices, infrastructure and geography. These nutrition surveys are essential for mounting an effective, customised response.

Treating malnourished children

Thanks to the development of cost effective new treatments, we can now save lives on a scale never before imagined. We identify, diagnose and treat malnourished children in the community, providing parents with therapeutic food for their children in less severe cases, and providing round-the-clock care in health centres in more urgent ones. You can read examples of how we help local comunities on our blog.

Preventing acute malnutrition

Our prevention activities provide therapeutic food to children discharged from therapeutic care, children with moderate acute malnutrition, and children in communities faced with seasonal hunger. Prevention can save millions of lives while long-term solutions are developed.

Promoting good nutritional and care practices 

Children are more likely to be well-nourished if parents know how to provide the care and support they need. So we ensure women have adequate food and rest before and after birth, promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a child’s life, encourage play and interaction, and educate them around illness, hygiene and food preparation.

Building local capacity and strengthening health systems

We strengthen public health systems and boost their ability to address life-threatening malnutrition by training health care workers to treat the condition. They can then reach more children in their own communities, share their expertise and promote good health and care practices. 

Photo credits:  © Sanjit Das, ACF India