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Lancet. 1994 Dec 24-31;344(8939-8940):1728-32.

Controlled trial of three approaches to the treatment of severe malnutrition.

Author information

1
Centre for Human Nutrition, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, UK.

Abstract

Domiciliary treatment of severely malnourished children could have economic and practical advantages over other methods. We compared three approaches in a controlled trial. 437 children in Dhaka (< 60% weight-for-height, and/or oedema) aged 12-60 months were sequentially allocated to treatment as inpatients, to day-care, or to care at home after one week of day-care. Institutional and parental costs incurred to reach 80% weight-for-height were compared. Costs for inpatient, day-care, and at-home groups averaged 6363, 2517, and 1552 taka (60 taka = UK pound 1). Mortality was low (< 5%) in all three groups. Day-care treatment approached inpatient care for speed of recovery at less than half the cost, but it was unpopular with parents. The at-home group took significantly longer to attain 80% weight-for-height than the other groups, but did so at the lowest average cost. Parental costs were highest for the at-home group as no food supplements were provided; nevertheless this was the most popular option. We conclude that at-home management of severely malnourished children after 1 week of inpatient care is a cost-effective strategy.

PMID:
7997001
DOI:
10.1016/s0140-6736(94)92885-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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