Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition & Malnutrition Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition & Malnutrition - Feeding practices including micronutrient deficiencies prevention, control of wasting, stunting and underweight
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Planning, Monitoring & Evaluation
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Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

Means of Data Collection
Use and Presentation of Data

Mother, Infant and Young Child Nutrition and Malnutrition

Mother, Infant and Young Child
Nutrition and Malnutrition

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Home  »  Information Management Systems  »  Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation  »  Use and Presentation of Data

This section is intended mainly for practitioners and program managers. It provides insights on key indicators and means of verifications for preventive and curative nutrition. It also explores different ways of collecting and presenting data for different purposes.

Setting up and managing a Comprehensive Information Management System

Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation

Use and Presentation of Data

  • Key indicators on preventive nutrition are usually collected through Demographic Health Surveys and respond to priority public health interventions like micro-nutrient supplementation and promotion of breastfeeding. Specific indicators related to positive behavioural changes in the family feeding practices are more difficult to obtain. Qualitative studies should provide insights on identified poor practices to increase understanding on underlying causes (cultural, social and economic barriers). Comprehensive data on complementary feeding practices and maternal nutrition are not always available. More often, they are insufficiently linked to specific interventions aimed at these population groups.
  • The WHO decision-chart to assess the magnitude and severity of a nutrition crisis and decide on the required action is based on the prevalence of wasting and a limited number of aggravating factors including: general food ration below 2100kcal/person/day, Crude Death Rate greater than 1/10,000/day and epidemics of measles or whooping cough.




5-9.9% usual
range and stable
5-9.9% (with aggravating factors) 10-14.9% 10-14.%
(with aggravating factors)
15% or more


<1/10,000/d. >1 / 10,000/d. <1 / 10,000/d. >1 / 10,000/d. <1 / 10,000/d.

Food availability at household level

More than 2100 kcal/pers./d. < 2100
> 2100 kcal/person/d. < 2100
> 2100 kcal/pers./d.

Epidemic of measles or whooping cough


Action required

Attention to malnourished children through regular services with emphasis on SAM

Supplementary feeding for MAM and therapeutic feeding for SAM

General ration
Supplementary feeding for MAM and therapeutic feeding for SAM

  • New tools are currently under development to support in the triangulation of different indicators. An example of a more comprehensive table of indicators is provided below:

Key Indicators

Very Critical
GAM (WHZ) from nutrition surveys 5-9.9% usual range and stable 10-14.9% 15-19.9% (or 10-14.9% where there has been a significant increase from seasonally adjusted previous surveys) >20% or (15-19.9% where there has been a significant increase from seasonally adjusted previous surveys)
SAM (WHZ) from nutrition surveys <1.5% 1.5-2% 2-3% >3%
CMR /10,000/day from nutrition surveys 0.45-0.99 1-1.99/10,000/day >2/10,000/day >2/10,000/day
Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) Screening
(% <12.5cm)
<5% 5-9.9% 10-14.9% >15%
Feeding Centre Data - adjusted on length of operation & coverage Low admissions and stable Low admissions but increasing in last 2 months (seasonally & coverage adjusted) Significant increasing admission - (seasonally & coverage adjusted) Significant increasing admissions - out of season
Health Information System (underweight children) Low numbers of underweight children for area and stable (seasonally adjusted) Low numbers of underweight children from previous months but increasing in >2 rounds (seasonally adjusted) High levels and stable numbers of underweight children (seasonally adjusted) High with significant increasing numbers in >2 rounds of underweight children
Poor dietary diversity for population (<4 food groups) <5% 5-9.9% 10-25% >25%
Meal Frequency:
At least 3 consistent meals x day (no snacks)
>20% 5-19.9% <5% <20%
Sentinel Site Trend levels of children identified as acutely malnourished Low levels and one round indicating increase seasonally adjusted) Increasing levels to based on two rounds (seasonally adjusted) High levels of malnourished children and stable (seasonally adjusted) (15-19.9%) Increasing levels to with increasing trend
Affected population with access to food aid Access for most vulnerable Reduced access for most vulnerable Limited access for majority vulnerable Negligible or no access
(seasonally adjusted)
Frequency of cases of ARI, diarrhoea
Within expected seasonal norms Seasonal increase in suspected ARI and diarrhoea- contained Seasonal increase - not contained, Epidemic Pandemic
Food Security Situation Chronically food secure Acute Food and Livelihoods Crisis Emergency Food and Livelihoods Crisis Famine/ Humanitarian Catastrophe
  • Nutrition indicators can be triangulated with food security and livelihood information to assess the severity of a crisis and implications for humanitarian responses. Check the IPC tool for an Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Phase Classification.
  • The decision whether and when it is necessary to intervene with feeding programs should be based on four main considerations: 1) Prevalence of and trends in malnutrition; 2) The context (including careful assessment of aggravating factors that determine the severity of a crisis); 3) Available resources - human, material and financial and 4) Public health priorities.
  • Treatment of severe malnutrition in stable development situations might be overlooked by health systems as too specialized and expensive. Many children die as a result. It is not difficult to integrate standardized protocols into existing treatment protocols to achieve a substantial impact on child mortality. In-patient and out-patient treatment and active case-findings of children with acute malnutrition should be regarded as essential components of integrated management of child illnesses.
  • When acute malnutrition is affecting disproportionately low-income classes a strategy that addresses inequalities in access to food and health services should be identified to provide a safety-net during seasonal or sudden hunger-gaps. Development principles of sustainability, ownership and capacity building should be included as part of the strategy and would build on locally available coping mechanisms.

14 September, 2019

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