The most practical and scalable means to detect acute malnutrition at community level is through the measurement and classification of mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC). It is the most common form of anthropometric screening used at community level to detect and refer children for acute malnutrition treatment. Historically, MUAC screening at community level has been the primary responsibility of community health workers (CHWs) or community volunteers (CHVs). However, there is mounting evidence to suggest that families can also play a significant role in carrying out MUAC screening in their own communities.
Family MUAC (or Mother MUAC as it is also sometimes called) is a community screening approach which empowers mothers, caregivers and other family members to screen their own children for acute malnutrition using color-coded MUAC tapes. Neither literacy or numeracy skills are required.