Ethiopian Journal of Health Development

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Treatment outcome of children with severe acute malnutrition admitted to therapeutic feeding centers in Southern Region of Ethiopia

E Teferi, M Lera, S Sita, Z Bogale, DG Datiko, MA Yassin


Background: Inadequate intake of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals is one of the causes for malnutrition. It often affects young children and contributes to more than 60% of deaths in children in developing countries. One in four of malnourished children receiving traditional treatment die during or soon after treatment. The study aimed to assess the treatment outcome of children treated in therapeutic feeding centers (TFC) in southern Ethiopia.
Methods: A retrospective review of reports submitted by the TFCs was done during 2003-2004. Data was collected from the monthly reports using standardized formats. The variables included age, treatment centers, type of malnutrition and treatment outcome which were analyzed using descriptive statistics.
Results: Of 11,335 cases of malnutrition, 47% (5447) had severe wasting and 53% (6103) had edematous malnutrition. Of the total, 87% (11,191) were cured while 3.6% (468) had died. The average length of stay was 25 and 21 days with an average weight gain of 14 and 13.4 g/kg/d for children with severe wasting and edematous malnutrition, respectively. With increasing age, the death rate decrease  and cure rate increased (p < 0.05 for both).

Discussion: Our results show that the new management approach  implemented in the TFC improved the treatment outcome of malnourished children compared to the minimum international standard set for  management of severe acute malnutrition which is cure rate of at least 75% and death rate less than 10%, average length of stay of less than
30 days and average weight gain of 8g/kg/day.
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