Collaboration and innovation to drive impact on acute malnutrition:

No Wasted Lives 2018 reflections

December 2018

Dear friends and colleagues,

On behalf of the No Wasted Lives coalition, it gives me great pleasure to greet you as we approach the end of 2018, and embark upon a new year.

No Wasted Lives is focused on ending wasting in our lifetime. We are working to double the proportion of children annually receiving treatment by 2020, amplify the data and evidence, increase financial investments, and secure country-level policy and programme commitments to prevent and treat wasting.


Today, 50.5 million children are affected by wasting, one of the most severe forms of malnutrition. This number has barely budged since 2011. Children who are wasted are up to 11 times more likely to die than well-nourished children. In addition, while 90 percent of children who complete treatment for wasting are cured, less than 25 percent of those who need it, have access to it.

Failure to prevent and treat wasting undermines the effectiveness of global development priorities, and stands in the way of achieving health, child survival, human development and economic achievement goals. 


We must do more. We must do better.

Today, we have convened an unprecedented group that has come together to end wasting in coordinated, collaborative and innovative ways. The organisations that are part of No Wasted Lives are on the front lines of the movement to end wasting and, together with governments, their perspectives and expertise will drive the impact that we collectively envision.


In 2018, No Wasted Lives brought forward tremendous evidence and new models of work. By sharing evidence and supporting country-level practitioners, wasting prevention and treatment can improve dramatically through more effective approaches. This evidence will allow us to transform the landscape by reducing treatment cost, having updated prevention and treatment guidance and norms, and diversifying the pathways through which services are offered at country and community levels.  

We also established the building blocks to drive advocacy and the investment case for reaching more children who need wasting prevention services and treatment. The majority of wasting cases exist in non-emergency settings, and the investment must reflect this reality. Funding from the humanitarian sector should be complemented by more funding from the development sector, which should also recognise wasting as a development priority. 

And finally, No Wasted Lives coalition members have engaged directly with governments in the high-burden regions of Africa and Asia, and facilitated the kind of conversations that will get us to impact. Moving forward, governments should prioritise the prevention and treatment of wasting, set treatment targets, allocate domestic budget, and build health systems capacity to care for children who are wasted. No Wasted Lives coalition members will work with governments to support these priorities.

No Wasted Lives looks forward to collaborating with you and new partners to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals of reducing wasting prevalence to less than 5 percent by 2025, and ending preventable child deaths and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.

Thank you for your support and commitment, and being a part of the No Wasted Lives movement. We wish you a wonderful New Year.

In solidarity,

Nabeeha Kazi-Hutchins
No Wasted Lives, Executive Director

No Wasted Lives Top 8 of 2018:

  1. Research Agenda for Acute Malnutrition: launched in January 2018. Our aim is to support coordination and concrete action across the sector, filling critical gaps and scaling-up evidence-based prevention and treatment of acute malnutrition. More here.

  2. Funding research: In July 2018, the Coalition announced that the first four research studies aligned to the agenda will be funded by new No Wasted Lives Coalition member the innocent foundation. All the info on No Wasted Lives Research portfolio here.

  3. Collaborating with partners: We met colleagues at the Borlaug Dialogue and Accelerating Zero Hunger Conference.

  4. New partners: We welcomed Nabeeha Kazi-Hutchins as Executive Director, as well as new Coalition members IRC and the innocent foundation. Meet the team here.

  5. Up to date data: In September we launched an update to the State of Acute Malnutrition website, providing accessible, updated information about acute malnutrition at a country-level. Visit the site here.

  6. Responding to the latest data: While significant progress has been made in reducing child stunting, the same cannot be said for other forms of malnutrition. Read our response to the 2018 Global Nutrition Report here.

  7. Advice from our technical advisory group: A systematic review on the “Use of mid-upper arm circumference by novel community platforms to detect, diagnose, and treat severe acute malnutrition in children”, was conducted by members of the No Wasted Lives technical advisory group – The Council of Research & Technical Advice on Acute Malnutrition (CORTASAM) and supports the Council’s recommendation statement on the use of MUAC. Summary here.

  8. Reviewing current evidence: “Relapse after severe acute malnutrition: a systematic literature review and secondary data analysis” was conducted by members of the No Wasted Lives technical advisory group – CORTASAM. Download it here.

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