Background: Acute malnutrition is still a public health issue in Benin. The poor results achieved in in-patient care management of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) cases led to adopt ambulatory approach. The aim of this study was to assess the efficiency of ambulatory management of severe acute malnutrition.
Patients and methods: It was a prospective descriptive study performed on children aged 6 to 59 months. This study had been conducted from September 2008 to March 2009 in Alibori Region in the north of Benin. Recruitment had been done by door-to-door strategy using mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) and Weight for Height. The management of SAM cases was based on WHO protocol.
Results: 247 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) were recruited out of the 266 targeted (92.8% coverage). The sex ratio was 1 and the mean age was 17.12 months. Among the 247 cases of SAM, 92% had no complication and then had been cared for on ambulatory regime. The lethality rate was 1.61% and the defaulting rate was 5.26%. As regards cases cured, the average weight gain was 12.87 g/kg/day and the average time of treatment was 31.32 days. The average cost per case was 30 $US.
Conclusion: Community-based management of SAM is feasible, efficient and with a relatively low cost.