Community-based management of severe acute malnutrition

A Joint Statement

World Health Organization, World Food Programme, United Nations System Standing Committee on Nutrition and United Nations Children’s Fund

Publication details

Editors: World Health Organization
Number of pages: 7
Publication date: 2007
Languages: English, French
ISBN: 978 92 806 4147 9


Update 2011

The Joint Statement has been updated to reflect the revised MUAC cut-off of 115 mm on pages 2 and 3. The maximum aflatoxin level has been revised to 10 parts per billion on page 6.


Severe acute malnutrition remains a major killer of children under five years of age. Until recently, treatment has been restricted to facility-based approaches, greatly limiting its coverage and impact. New evidence suggests, however, that large numbers of children with severe acute malnutrition can be treated in their communities without being admitted to a health facility or a therapeutic feeding centre.

The community-based approach involves timely detection of severe acute malnutrition in the community and provision of treatment for those without medical complications with ready-to-use therapeutic foods or other nutrient-dense foods at home. If properly combined with a facility-based approach for those malnourished children with medical complications or below 6 months and implemented on a large scale, community-based management of severe acute malnutrition could prevent the deaths of hundreds of thousands of children.

The proposed nutrient compositions are to be used as a guide for target nutrient intakes from specific foods for specific populations, rather than limits for manufacturing specifications.

Press release