Improving treatment for malnourished kids in the DRC
How big is the middle of your upper arm? Take a look. Not bad, right? Big enough to lift your shopping or do some sharp elbows on a crowded bus.
For malnourished kids in the Kasai province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, that arm can be a lot smaller, and the consequences are a lot bigger. But it doesn’t need to be that way. That’s why we’re working with ALIMA (The Alliance for International Medical Action) to understand how to improve treatment for malnourished kids. ALIMA is a charity that works across 12 countries in central- and west Africa to give emergency medical treatment in conflict zones and to run research that improves humanitarian medicine. They asked: can treatment be simpler, more effective, and reached more kids sooner? It turns out it can!
By focusing testing on arm circumference, and changing the dosing of therapeutic food, ALIMA has seen some really great results for malnourished kids in the DRC. The process (called ‘OptiMA’) catches undernourished kids sooner and recovered kids put on more weight more quickly than with the traditional process. The study found that, six months after the treatment, 9% more kids were cured and hadn’t relapsed into malnutrition, compared to standard treatment in the DRC. OptiMA has also resulted in 30% more children being cared for while using 20% less ready-to-use therapeutic foods.
That’s a pretty great flex if you ask us.
If you’re feeling clever and want to read the whole study, it’s here: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(22)00041-9/fulltext
Posted on March 17, 2022