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Rapid MUAC Screening for Nutrition Assessment Purposes

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Leah Richardson

Normal user

21 Apr 2016, 14:55

Is there any standard/recommended guidance on how to use rapid MUAC screening to get an assessment of the nutrition situation?

Shewangizaw SA Ashenafi

Nutrition program manager

Normal user

22 Apr 2016, 15:02

Dear Leah
If you may mean for initial rapid assessment the following information may help you.
Rapid MUAC assessment can be done to identify the extent of malnutrition in a population. If you want to conduct initial assessment of affected population using MUAC you can conduct on 100 age between 12-59 months that are selected randomly (that could be systematic random selection/interval (E.g. every 10th HH) .or if there is market place you can assess also one third of children found in the market. If the ration or proxy rate of malnutrition is less than 10% and other indicators (like CMR, UMR, Food security situation and other aggravating factors) are not alarming it can be consider as the acute malnutrition is not problem. But if the rate is between 10% and 25%, standard survey should asses the actual malnutrition rate before starting nutrition intervention programs. If rapid MUAC assessment shows a ration of >25% Immediate nutritional intervention should be implemented ,in the meantime standard survey should be conducted to confirm the situation.

kiross Tefera

Public Health Nutritionist

Normal user

22 Apr 2016, 19:27

Dear Lea,
Your question needs further clarification. I am not sure whether or not it is well captured. Before utilizing or sell the product of rapid MUAC screening result, we have to look at the following factors critically; how many children screened, How the screening was performed (was at facility level, community level, and centre point, house-to-house), in how many sites was the screening conducted. once these factors are clearly stated, then it is easy to say about the data.
This week, I had a chance to attend one workshop on integrated food security phase classification (IPC). One of the session was about the new approach on nutrition IPC tools. According to the presentation, MUAC screening is considered as one of the source of information to assess acute malnutrition. Data from rapid assessments is now treated as screening if they are done to quickly assess the situation. Minimum criteria have been set for MUAC screening data. 1. The selection of children should be random or exhaustive, 2. At least 200 children per site should be measured. If the number of children in the site are less than 200, all children should be measured (exhaustive). 3. There should be at least 3 different sites per unit of analysis. Unit of analysis could be district/county or other geographical area. According to the recommendation, during weighing of difference sources of information, reliability score of MUAC screening result is inferior to standard representative WFH or MUAC survey result. For detail information, the IPC senior advisory team can say more.
Following the session, I did find out that almost all rapid MUAC screening results conducted across the country doesn't fulfill the above criteria and were excluded from the analysis.


Emergency Nutrition Project Team Leader

Normal user

26 Apr 2016, 04:44

Dear kiross Tefera,

In my current working area or Priority -1- drought affected area, MUAC Screening is conducted every month for five days in all drought affected hot spot kebele's by HEW exhaustively at health post level. Each Kebele has its own health post. Childrens MUAC is taken at health post level. The coverage of screening is morethan 95%. Could the reliability score of MUAC screening result will serve us to estimate the prevalence of GAM ? or does it requires a standard survey to evaluate the burden of acute malnutrition?

Nitsuh Fikir


Normal user

11 Jan 2017, 14:02


You can find a very useful information and guidance from the previous discussion on this forum

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