Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition

Location: Auditorium

Poster Board Number: 108

P06-087 - Cost-savings analysis: measuring the impact of a stunting prevention program on the burden of acute malnutrition in rural Malawi

Monday, Jun 11
8:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Objective(s): To understand the effects of an integrated stunting prevention program during the first 1,000 days on the burden of acute malnutrition in rural Malawi:

  1. To estimate the stunting prevention program's impact on the incidence of childhood moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) and severe acute malnutrition (SAM)

  2. To calculate the associated cost-savings, if any, from reduced acute malnutrition caseloads

Estimating the number of children that did not suffer from acute malnutrition in Ntchisi (who would have suffered if the program were not implemented) was based on methodology developed by the 'Community Management of Acute Malnutrition Forum'. To calculate the reduced caseloads, the incidences of MAM and SAM were multiplied by the assumed level of coverage (70%) based on historical monitoring data for treatment programming.

Standard cost per child for treatment of SAM ($220) and MAM ($80) was estimated based on figures from 'Malawi's Operational Plan for CMAM'. Using reduced prevalence estimates of MAM (2.8%) and SAM (1.1%) previously derived from difference-in-differences analyses comparing intervention and comparison sites between 2014 and 2015, we then calculated reduced incidences, caseloads, and cost savings of acute malnutrition.

In 2015, the stunting prevention program resulted in an estimated 1,105 and 434 fewer MAM and SAM cases, respectively. Throughout the 4-year stunting program, we would expect 4,696 and 1,845 fewer MAM and SAM cases in total.

Assuming 70% program coverage, we calculated a reduced caseload of 774 and 304 fewer MAM and SAM beneficiaries. Considering standard cost estimates per child treated, the stunting prevention program saved an annual estimated $61,920 and $60,800 for MAM and SAM respectively. Over the 51-month program (2014 January – 2018 March), the total cost savings for acute malnutrition is estimated at $521,560.

This analysis highlights the potential for stunting prevention programming to reduce the caseloads and associated treatment costs of childhood acute malnutrition. Nutrition programs that aim to address chronic malnutrition may also positively impact upon acute malnutrition not only in rural Malawi but also in other settings with a high undernutrition burden.

Funding Source:

Funding for this stutning prevention program has come from the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF).

CoAuthors: Jason Nyirenda, MS – United Nations World Food Programme; Trust Mlambo, MPH – United Nations World Food Programme; Arghanoon Farhikhtah, MS, RD – United Nations World Food Programme; Stephen Kodish, PhD, MS – United Nations World Food Programme; Emma Chimzukira, MS – United Nations World Food Programme; Nancy Aburto, PhD, MS – United Nations World Food Program

Jackson Mason-Mackay

Nutrition consultant
United Nations World Food Programme
Rome, Lazio, Italy