RUTF to treat SAM children: what is the evidence today?

This briefing presents the evidence supporting the use of ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat severe acute malnutrition

Objectives of this document:

– Brief Action Against Hunger staff on the latest evidence on RUTF use and latest recommendations of the international nutrition and health community

– Assist missions with their advocacy efforts in areas where RUTF use is being questioned

International recommendations

RUTF is strongly recommended by international health and nutrition organizations to treat uncomplicated forms of severe acute malnutrition in the community.

Research needs

This strong recommendation is unambiguously accompanied by the expressed need for more research on the subject:

o Need to investigate food-based approaches and local RUTF production
o Need to evaluate the effectiveness of RUTF in different intervention contexts
o Need to investigate long term effects: relapse and long term development
o The risk of diarrhoea

Waiting for more research, the international recommendation to use RUTF relies on a wide range of pragmatic considerations

Action Against Hunger position

Action Against Hunger believes that as of today RUTF is the most effective treatment for uncomplicated SAM when used with proper management and medical protocols. Therefore Action Against Hunger promotes the use of RUTF, preferably produced locally and meeting WHO specifications, to treat severely acutely malnourished children without medical complications in need today, while promoting research projects to fill the current knowledge gaps


About this document

Section: Technical

Thematic Area: Nutrition and Health

Location: Global

Type: Briefing

Tags: Severe Acute Malnutrition

Language: English

Key Information


Year Published: 2014
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