Objective: This paper reviews coverage data from programmes treating severe acute malnutrition (SAM) collected between July 2012 and June 2013.
Design: This is a descriptive study of coverage levels and barriers to coverage collected by coverage assessments of community-based SAM treatment programmes in 21 countries that were supported by the Coverage Monitoring Network. Data from 44 coverage assessments are reviewed.
Setting: These assessments analyse malnourished populations from 6 to 59 months old to understand the accessibility and coverage of services for treatment of acute malnutrition. The majority of assessments are from sub-Saharan Africa.
Results: Most of the programmes (33 of 44) failed to meet context-specific internationally agreed minimum standards for coverage. The mean level of estimated coverage achieved by the programmes in this analysis was 38.3%. The most frequently reported barriers to access were lack of awareness of malnutrition, lack of awareness of the programme, high opportunity costs, inter-programme interface problems, and previous rejection.
Conclusions: This study shows that coverage of CMAM is lower than previous analyses of early CTC programmes; therefore reducing programme impact. Barriers to access need to be addressed in order to start improving coverage by paying greater attention to certain activities such as community sensitisation. As barriers are interconnected focusing on specific activities, such as decentralising services to satellite sites, is likely to increase significantly utilisation of nutrition services. Programmes need to ensure that barriers are continuously monitored to ensure timely removal and increased coverage.