Undernutrition is the most devastating problem affecting the majority of the world’s children. Acute malnutrition is one of the main indicators used to define undernutrition. Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the highest levels of young child acute malnutrition globally. The 2013 Lancet series on maternal and child nutrition clearly identified as important, two types of undernutrition preventive approaches: nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions.
The present PhD research aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of two context-adapted nutrition interventions to prevent acute malnutrition in children below 36 months of age: the prevention of acute malnutrition project (PREAMA) in urban Chad and the moderate acute malnutrition out (MAM’Out) project in rural Burkina Faso. These interventions were assessed using cluster randomized controlled trial designs.
Results showed that either of these interventions reduced acute malnutrition in young children. Rather, the two interventions carried out during lean seasons improved child’s dietary quality.
As cash transfers are driving more attention from nutrition stakeholders, it is crucial to acknowledge that, there are not a panacea for prevention of acute malnutrition in young child. Therefore, the present research suggested that multisectoral integrated interventions approach, combining cash transfers with a side component program should be considered.