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Disinfecting MUAC Tape in nutrition surveillance clinic.

This question was posted the COVID-19 and nutrition programming forum area and has 3 replies.

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Nutrition Officer/ UNICEF

Normal user

2 Apr 2020, 10:51

Hi everyone,

Given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, how we can protect the frontline health workers ,children under 5 years of age, and PLW as well in nutrition clinics when taking the anthropometric measurements? How can we disinfect the MUAC tape when use it for different persons?

For example, I thought of 1) disinfecting the scles, the boards before and after each visit. 2) Using PPE when the beneficiary has respiratory symptoms (according to WHO rational use of PPE). What other precaution measures can we take?



Action Against Hunger UK

Technical expert

2 Apr 2020, 13:37

Hi Nader,

I have posted several links to further detailed information below.

You might consider whether there is a need to take some types of measurement (e.g. using height boards). Is it just a routine measurement or is it strictly necessary? Can you reduce the frequency of visits? Can you resort to MUAC only measurements?

In addition to physical distancing / droplet precautions. Standing behind the child / carer when taking measurements may reduce risk of droplet exposure if either is coughing. Consider your positioning during other aspects of measurement / examination if contact is necessary. 

It would be possible to hold the MUAC tape while washing your hands (for the minimum 20-30 seconds) between uses ensuring both your hands and MUAC tape are washed thoroughly with soap then rinsed with running water. Using bleach / chlorine solutions on equipment is possible but should be left for at least 5 minutes before thouroughly wiping the bleach off. If you are using a home made dilution of the bleach then discard it after 24 hours. 

The child may be asymptomatic or display other non-respiratory symptoms but still be capable of transmitting the virus. Aerosols can also be produced when talking / crying and the child may be putting fingers in their nose / mouth with subsequent potential contact transmission.

There's a growing body of suggested precautions / adaptations. Please see the following.  

Here is some general workplace guidance from WHO:

And some IASC interim guidance for food distributions that contains guidance that may be useful in your situation:

Here is some guidance from GTAM:

and from UNICEF:

I hope this helps,



Technical expert

21 May 2020, 12:04

Hello Nader,

 For  information, some general WHO guidance that could be useful.

Advice on use of PPE and IPC measures are included on pages 10, 13, and 14 of the community guidance

WHO released a new interim guidance on the cleaning and disinfection of surfaces:   The guidance just released includes advice in the context of iCCM also related to IPC measures on pages 24-25 summarized in Table in page 26.

“High-touch surfaces to be disinfected after each patient visit”. “Environmental surfaces in health-care settings include furniture and other fixed items inside and outside of patient rooms and bathrooms, such as tables, chairs, walls, light switches and computer peripherals, electronic equipment, sinks, toilets as well as the surfaces of non-critical medical equipment, such as blood pressure cuffs, stethoscopes, wheelchairs and incubators”.

No specific mention of other medical equipment as scales, length/height boards or MUAC. However, based on this,  we can recommend to disinfect the equipment after each use.


Forum Moderator, ENN

Forum moderator

8 Jun 2020, 15:34

Hi everyone,

This is a link to a new 'Hygiene Hub' for COVID-19:

It has links to resources as well as snapshots of programming approaches in different countries and situations. 

Best wishes,


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