The Council of Research & Technical Advice on Acute Malnutrition (CORTASAM)


CORTASAM was established in 2016 as the first-ever technical panel of independent experts on acute malnutrition, with a view to increasing knowledge and speeding up the time it takes for good ideas to be put into widespread practice.

The goal of the Council is to drive the use of evidence for action, in order to ultimately reach more children with effective treatment and prevention programmes. This will be achieved through three objectives:

  • Set Research Priorities: Identify research and knowledge gaps to guide global research priorities on the treatment and prevention of acute malnutrition.

  • Drive the use of evidence in programmes: Provide a systematic and transparent review of the emerging evidence, resulting in interim advice on the operational implications and application.

  • Drive the use of evidence in policies: Coordinate with WHO to ensure critical evidence gaps are filled and result in integration of emerging evidence into normative guidance.

Meet the Council

  • André Briend (University of Copenhagen & University of Tampere)

  • Elhadj Issakha Diop (Helen Keller International)

  • Ferew Lemma (Ministry of Health, Ethiopia)

  • Marie McGrath (Emergency Nutrition Network)

  • Mark Manary (Washington University, St Louis)

  • Marko Kerac (London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine)

  • Jennifer Rosenzweig (World Food Programme)

  • Noël Marie Zagre (UNICEF West Africa Regional Office)

  • Purnima Menon (International Food Policy Research Initiative)

  • Robert Black (Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health)

  • Steve Jarrett (Independent Consultant)

  • Susan Shepherd (ALIMA)

  • Tahmeed Ahmed (icddr,b)

  • Zita Weiss Prinzo (World Health Organization)

Recommendations from CORTASAM

Based on a review of the evidence, this is the first recommendation from CORTASAM:

Mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC) should be used as the primary tool for the detection, diagnosis, and discharge of acute malnutrition in children 6-59 months of age in the community.

This recommendation builds on existing global guidance and consensus, and is aimed to encourage immediate action and use of the growing evidence-base in this sector.

To read the full statement click here

Pour lire la déclaration complète sur l’utilisation du PB, téléchargez ici le document

Setting Global Research Priorities for Acute Malnutrition

A critical role of CORTASAM is to identify key research areas across acute malnutrition, and support the prioritisation of focus areas between now and 2020. This will support the broader community to fill gaps in the evidence, and improve coordination and action to scale up evidence-based prevention and treatment programmes.

In April 2017 we launched a global research prioritisation exercise that aimed to provide a robust and transparent framework to collect global, regional, and country-level stakeholder feedback on the research priorities across the continuum of acute malnutrition in children 0-5 years of age.

This survey resulted in impressive results: we received 313 responses representing 63 different countries and 167 different organisations globally. A summary of the responses is available below. We are now conducting the analysis, the final results will be made publicly available as soon as possible. Download a summary of the survey responses here.

Any questions on the exercise can be directed to


A Research Agenda for Impact

In line with the priority research areas identified and a review of the existing evidence, CORTASAM has identified the research areas with high potential impact on the effective management of acute malnutrition at scale but where further research and evidence generation is critically needed in order to achieve this.

Linked with this Research Agenda, in January 2018 No Wasted Lives and CORTASAM are seeking Expressions of Interest from organisations wishing to contribute to strengthening the evidence-base in these selected research areas. 

Read more about the Research Agenda and call for Expressions of Interest here.