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Prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition in humanitarian emergencies: a multi-organisation collaboration to increase access to synthesised evidence

Research snapshot1

Programme decision-making to prevent and treat acute malnutrition in an emergency can be hampered by a lack of accessible and relevant overviews of directly available, robust research evidence. This paper describes a process whereby a multi-disciplinary, international group of specialists worked together to build relevant and effective collections of available systematic reviews on acute malnutrition, published and disseminated as online collections, to improve access to concise, synthesised, relevant and up-to-date evidence for programming.

A group of 21 volunteers and stakeholders from multiple backgrounds collaborated between March 2017 and March 2018 to review and curate collections of systematic reviews of interventions for the prevention and treatment of moderate and severe acute malnutrition (MAM and SAM) in humanitarian emergencies. The methodology loosely followed general guidance for overviews of systematic reviews with a pre-defined question, formulated using the Population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes and Study design (PICOS) format and search strategies applied to multiple databases. Pairs of collaborators first screened the search yields to identify potentially eligible reviews, after which other pairs screened the list of potentially eligible reviews for relevance that were included in the final collections. Three collections were published and are publicly available: one of non-Cochrane reviews published on the Evidence Aid website2 and two of Cochrane reviews; one on the treatment of acute malnutrition and one on its prevention, published by Cochrane.3 These collections will be updated regularly to provide up-to-date evidence to inform nutrition-in-emergencies decision-makers and programmers. Such collaboration and collation could benefit other subject areas; Evidence Aid is eager to support new collections around other topics relevant to humanitarian emergencies and can be contacted here.

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Endnotes

1Allen, C., Jansen, J., Naude, C. et al. Prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition in humanitarian emergencies: a multi-organisation collaboration to increase access to synthesised evidence. Int J Humanitarian Action 4, 11 (2019) doi:10.1186/s41018-019-0057-8

2Evidence Aid (2018) Evidence aid nutrition collection. Available at: www.evidenceaid.org/prevention-and-treatment-of-acute-malnutrition-in-emergencies-and-humanitarian-crises/

3Cochrane Special Collections. Treatment of malnutrition, available at: www.cochranelibrary.com/collections/doi/10.1002/14651858.SC000032/full; and Prevention of malnutrition, available at: www.cochranelibrary.com/collections/doi/10.1002/14651858.SC000031/full

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Prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition in humanitarian emergencies: a multi-organisation collaboration to increase access to synthesised evidence. Field Exchange 61, November 2019. p32. www.ennonline.net/fex/61/synthesisedevidence

(fex.61.522)

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