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ENN led Management of Acute Malnutrition in Infants (MAMI) Project

A mother with her infants enrolled in Tahoua feeding centre in Niger, run by CONCERN and supported by WFP

Funded by the UNICEF led Interagency Standing Committee (IASC) Nutrition Cluster, the ENN is planning a review in 2008 of the field management of acutely malnourished infants under six months of age.

The management of malnutrition in infants under six months of age has been severely hampered by a poor evidence base upon which to base guidance materials1, and consequently how best to support these infants in practice. Efforts have been made to 'stop-gap' the lack of guidance to support field practitioners2 and agencies have evolved guidance to meet the needs of infants as they present. A body of experience in the management of this agegroup has been accumulating over the past 5 years amongst agencies. However in many instances, programme data are collected but not analysed, or internal reports written but not routinely shared with outside agencies. The ENN believe that reviewing and possibly re-analysing 'hidden field evidence' is a critical first step to gain some understanding of key issues around management of malnutrition in this age-group, e.g. overall admission numbers, programme coverage, agency guidance material, management practices and treatment outcomes.

The Management of Acute Malnutrition in Infants (MAMI) Project will endeavour to establish what is currently advised or recommended regarding the management of acute malnutrition in infants under six months in the form of guidelines, policies and strategies, by different organisations and then determine what is carried out in practice.

The review will involve an inter-agency collaboration, with the formation of a steering committee involving those agencies wishing to contribute information and data. There will also be a research advisory committee of 'experts'. The Centre for International Health and Development, University College London (CIHD), will provide academic leadership and support while Action Contre la Faim (ACF) will be the lead for operational agencies.

This review will engage with the current review process of severe malnutrition management undertaken by WHO and the International Malnutrition Taskforce.

Findings of the MAMI study will be shared through the ENN regular publication, Field Exchange. Updates and the findings will be shared at the Global Nutrition Cluster meetings and at international fora, such as the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition meeting in 2009.

A framework and detailed scope of the review will be developed in consultation with the steering committee and research advisory group. Any individuals or agencies, including government bodies, local and international NGOs and UN agencies, who would like to participate in this project should contact Marko Kerac, email: m.kerac@ich.ucl.ac.uk or Marie McGrath, ENN, email: marie@ennonline.net, tel: +44 (0)1865 249745

For more information, including a questionnaire to gauge interest and data potential, visit: http://www.ucl.ac.uk/cihd/research/nutrition/mami Or http://www.ennonline.net/research

Show footnotes

1Severe Malnutrition: Report of a Consultation to Review Current Literature (WHO, 2005)

2A chapter on managing severe malnutrition in infants under six months was included in the Module 2 training resource (available at http://www.ennonline.net/ife) developed by the IFE Core Group, with input from external experts and guided by expert technical opinion and review.

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ENN led Management of Acute Malnutrition in Infants (MAMI) Project. Field Exchange 32, January 2008. p20. www.ennonline.net/fex/32/enn

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