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Treatment of severe malnutrition now a core competency in health

By Ann Ashworth and Alan Jackson, International Malnutrition Task Force

Paediatricians took a giant step forward at the International Paediatric Association (IPA) Congress in Johannesburg in August 2010 when they resolved that treatment of malnutrition should become a core competency. It also had the support of the WHO, UNICEF and other United Nations agencies.

The full Resolution adopted at the Congress states:

  1. Paediatricians and related health professionals should take responsibility for leadership in addressing the urgent problem of severe malnutrition in all its forms, as it is a major cause of death and disability of children.
  2. IPA member societies should assure that all paediatricians and related health professionals have the identification and treatment of severe malnutrition as a core competency, and are certified accordingly.
  3. National societies should examine the curriculum, training activities, and evaluation processes to ensure the inclusion of the identification and treatment of severe malnutrition as a core competency.

The Resolution is one of several efforts by the International Malnutrition Task Force to place the problems of childhood malnutrition firmly on the agenda for paediatricians around the world. A similar Resolution was also adopted by nutritionists and other delegates attending the Africa Nutritional Epidemiology Conference in Nairobi in October 2010, accepting their responsibilities and the need to take action in order to effectively address the problems of severe malnutrition.

An important next step will be for national groups to work together to translate the Resolution into action. It is expected that international and local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) will be invited to play an important role and that key activities will include:

A report of the IMTF pre-congress workshop can be found at http://www.imtf.org.

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Reference this page

Ann Ashworth and Alan Jackson (2011). Treatment of severe malnutrition now a core competency in health. Field Exchange 40, February 2011. p79. www.ennonline.net/fex/40/treatment