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RUTF ration at the time of discharge

This question was posted the Management of wasting/acute malnutrition forum area and has 1 replies.

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Anonymous 3527

Normal user

11 Jul 2018, 13:15

Hi, I am looking for a document stating the protocol on the ration of RUTF to be given to the child at the time of discharge.

Usually, 7 sachets of RUTF is given to the SAM cured at the time of discharge but I am not able to find any guideline/protocol/ guidance note on it.

Please if you can share the document or reference on this urgently


Action Against Hunger UK

Technical expert

11 Jul 2018, 17:00

Hi Anonymous,

Guidelines vary so the first reference should be your national CMAM guidelines. The rationale for a discharge ration of RUTF also varies depending on who you speak to and is anecdotal rather than evidence based. These were largely born out of cautious approaches to discharge in early CTC / CMAM programmes but has become a 'fact' or a 'protocol' through repetition and inclusion in training modules. Whether the guidance appears in a guideline tends to depend on the previous practices and experience and preferences of the team developing them.

Rationales I have heard include:

1. The child becomes addicted to RUTF and will not eat family food so needs a 'weaning ration' to transition to a normal diet

2. The child will relapse if RUTF is discontinued suddenly

3. It is additional supplementary support for 1-2 weeks after OTP

In my opinion (also anecdotal based on experience) none of these is correct.

If you feel that food insecurity may be an issue then the programme should consider referring the child to an SFP following discharge from OTP for continuing nutritional support and monitoring rather than offering a limited 'discharge ration'.

In an integrated programme (e.g. integrated with primary health services) then ongoing monitoring and support could be done through maternal and child nutrition clinics / under-5 clinics / IYCF or growth monitoring programming.

In my personal opinion 'discharge rations' are costly on a programme level (almost one box RUTF / 20 cases) and unnecessary if you are using WHO recommended discharge criteria and monitor the child post discharge as is recommended by WHO (see 2013 updates). Any rationale I have heard of can be dealt with in other ways than giving additional RUTF following cure. Family foods should not be withheld from the child until recovery so that 'weaning' or 'transition' to family foods should not be an issue.

If you feel that you must give a discharge ration then a reference for this is the first CTC guideline by Valid International (which states 7 packets):

also FANTA training module on CMAM (give a discharge ration):

Bear in mind that these recommendations were given when the children were discharged with specific discharge criteria (MUAC > 11cm + 2 months minimum stay + sustained weight gain) which are lower than the MUAC > 12.5 cm recommended by WHO.

This issue has also been mentioned / discussed on en-net in other posts in the past with varying responses:

I hope this helps,


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