Assessment and Management of Severe Malnutrition in Children
BACKGROUND: Severe malnutrition is a common cause of morbidity and mortality among children less than five years of age. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has developed two manuals for the in-patient treatment of severe malnutrition. However, these manuals are not widely distributed with the result that most health practitioners caring for severely malnourished children unknowingly use practices that, though may be suitable for sick well nourished children, may be highly dangerous for the severely malnourished child. OBJECTIVE: This review article, based on the two WHO manuals for in-patient treatment of severe malnutrition and other relevant literature, seeks to offer the medical fraternity the opportunity to abreast themselves with the assessment and case management of children with severe malnutrition. CONCLUSION: Health practitioners caring for children with severe malnutrition should abreast themselves with the recommended guidelines for assessment and management of this common disorder.
Keywords: Severe malnutrition, assessment, management, reductive adaptation, case fatality.