Malnutrition is one of the biggest causes of death in children under 5. It can be prevented if it's detected early. ALIMA started a program called the MUAC for Mothers, which trains mothers to screen their own children using a simple color coded bracelet (MUAC). If you catch it early the child has much higher chance of survival past the age of 5. ALIMA is currently training mothers in 9 countries in Africa and are working to scale up to reach even more mothers.
The Sahel region has one of the world's highest mortality rate for children under five. This is driven by a deadly combination of malnutrition and preventable and treatable diseases like malaria and pneumonia. Compounding the situation is a chronic lack of primary health care. Prevalence of malnutrition in many area is at or near emergency thresholds for children aged 6 to 59 months.
ALIMA's objective is to reduce childhood mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa. Teaching mothers to diagnose their children's nutritional status using the "middle upper-arm circumference" (MUAC) bracelet to assess if their child is at risk for malnutrition,results in earlier diagnosis and therefore reducing rates of malnutrition and decreasing hospitalizations. This empowers mothers to track their children's health by giving them tools to make decisions about bringing their child to the health center.
In 2016, ALIMA teams trained more than 230,000 mothers in Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Nigeria, and Niger. The number of mother continues to grow and in the future, ALIMA wants to see MUAC tapes in every home where malnutrition is an acute or chronic issue. And ultimately, ALIMA is working towards a day when MUAC is a routine part of family life, much like thermometers: a simple tool parents use to see whether they should seek medical care for their children.