Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) is common in sub-Saharan Africa, with
approximately 3% of children under five affected at any one time, it is also associated with several hundred thousand child deaths each year. Between 1950 and 2000, efforts to treat these children as inpatients in district hospitals or clinics failed to address the problem; mortality rates amongst those undergoing treatment remained extremely high at 20-30% and unchanged from those seen in the 1950s(1), and only a tiny proportion of those in need were able to access care(2). Over the same period, every time a major crisis emerged in
Africa, relief agencies established inpatient feeding centres to treat the large number of children requiring care.