West and Central Africa are among the regions most affected by child malnutrition. For several years now, humanitarian organizations have observed that the existing protocols for the care of children suffering from this disease do not meet today’s needs, let alone the growing needs of tomorrow. Currently, less than one third of the children suffering from acute malnutrition have access to care.
There is an increasingly urgent need to adapt current protocols. In recent years, ALIMA (The Alliance for International Medical Action), AAH (Action Against Hunger), IRC (International Rescue Committee) and UNICEF have conducted studies in several countries in order to build scientific evidence on the relevance of new, “simplified” approaches to treating malnutrition, including the OptiMA approach developed by ALIMA.
Rallying 9 countries around simplified approaches
ALIMA, AAH, IRC and UNICEF joined forces to organize a regional conference on simplified approaches to the treatment of acute malnutrition on June 15-16, 2022, in Dakar, Senegal. This meeting was the opportunity to present existing scientific evidence and to share experiences in the implementation of simplified approaches in different countries.
Representatives from the Nutrition Directorates of Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Chad attended the conference. Technical and financial partners also participated in the exchanges.
Working together on long-term solutions
Simplified approaches represent a real hope for countries in West and Central Africa that are heavily impacted by the scourge of acute malnutrition. They could bring quality treatment and preventive care to a greater number of malnourished children, including those that are the most disadvantaged, and those living in the most inhospitable areas.
UNICEF, ALIMA, AAH and IRC are ready to provide technical support to Ministries of Health in West and Central Africa for the testing, piloting and scaling up of the relevant simplified approaches.
Read the official report here.
Cover picture : © Dénis Sassou Gueipeur / ALIMA