The Coalition invests in cutting edge ideas to drive forward global learning and action on prevention and treatment of severe acute malnutrition. Our work is focused in three areas:


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

CORTASAM was established in 2016 as the first-ever technical panel of independent experts on severe 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 SAM 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

  • Andre Briend
  • Elhadj Issakha Diop (HKI)
  • Ferew Lemma (MoH Ethiopia)
  • Marie McGrath (ENN)
  • Mark Manary (Washington University, St Louis)
  • Marko Kerac (LSHTM)
  • Nancy Arbuto (WFP)
  • Noel Marie Zagre (UNICEF WARO)
  • Paluku Bahwere (Valid)
  • Robert Black (Johns Hopkins SPH)
  • Steve Jarrett
  • Susan Shepherd (ALIMA)
  • Tahmeed Ahmed (icddr,b)
  • Zita Weiss Prinzo (WHO)

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.

We recently launched a global research prioritisation exercise that aims 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 ran from April 3rd – May 5th 2017 with impressive results: we received 313 responses representing 63 different countries and 167 different organisations globally. A summary of the responses is available below and we are now conducting the analysis, the final results will be made publicly available as soon as possible.

Any questions on the exercise can be directed to


Technical Projects

Operational Research

We directly support a portfolio of operational research to build the evidence around ways to improve the quality, coverage, and cost-effectiveness of programmes for acute malnutrition across the world. These include;

  • MANGO: Testing reduced dosage for treatment in Burkina Faso
  • OptiDiag: Biomedical Investigations for Optimized Diagnosis and Monitoring of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM): Elucidating the heterogeneous diagnosis of SAM by current anthropometric criteria and moving beyond 
  • ComPAS: Testing combined protocols for the treatment of MAM/SAM in South Sudan and Mali
  • C-Project and beyond: Testing the integration of SAM treatment into the iCCM package in Mali, Pakistan, and Kenya.
  • SAM Photo Diagnosis: Developing an innovative diagnostic mobile app

The State of Acute Malnutrition: A Platform for Coordination

The State of Acute Malnutrition website brings previous resources from the CMAM Forum and Coverage Monitoring Network together with global and country-level Nutridash data. In addition, the site supports our technical projects and the work of CORTASAM by providing a platform for communication and coordination about ongoing research and the use of emerging evidence.

Visit the site at