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Early Detection and Referral of Children with Malnutrition

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Home  »  Early Malnutrition Detection and Referral  »  Detection and Referral of Children with Acute Malnutrition  »  Setting up a referral system for Acute Malnutrition

Detection and Referral of Children with Acute Malnutrition

Setting up a referral system for Acute Malnutrition

  1. Underlying principles:

Child acute malnutrition can be identified in primary health centers and in the communities before the onset of complications. Workers at facility and community level can be trained on the use of Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) tape and on recognition of bilateral pitting oedema.

Whenever referred, it is crucial that caregivers understand the life saving importance of going immediately to the recommended facility where their children will be fully assessed to determine the type of care they should receive.

Early detection and referral, coupled with decentralized treatment makes it possible to start management of acute malnutrition before the onset of life-threatening complications.

Detecting and referring children with acute malnutrition are the foundation for integrated management of malnutrition at facility and community level.

  1. Division of roles for malnutrition screening and assessment:


All functional Health Centers:

Health Centers with treatment services (therapeutic and supplementary feeding programs):

  1. Referral forms for children with acute malnutrition

It is crucial that trained workers at facility and community level locate the nearest facilities to refer cases with Severe/Moderate Malnutrition.

Referral should be done in writing using the Format below wherever possible. Caregivers must take the referral form with them to the recommended facility and present it on arrival.

A referral letter/form must contain the following essential elements:

Referral Form for children with Acute Malnutrition

Date screened:_______________________________________________________

Parent's name: _______________________________________________________

Child's name: ________________________________________________________

Age: _____________________________ Sex: ______________________________

Village: ___________________________ Taluka:____________________________

MUAC: (mm/cm or colour) ____________ Oedema: ___________________________

Facility referred to: _________________________________ (indicate nearest centres)

Other observations: ____________________________________________________

Treatment provided (if any): ______________________________________________


14 September, 2019

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