Moderate and severe malnutrition are endemic in much of the developing world and in association with pockets of deprivation in the developed world. The cost in terms of individual and social development is high. The principles of effective management are clearly documented. A low cost, community based treatment programme for moderately and severely malnourished children under 3 years of age was established at a health centre in rural Jamaica. Children were followed up monthly and defaulters were rigorously recalled. Management consisted of carefully delivered dietary advice, antibiotics, anthelminthics, and vitamin supplements. All children improved and the response of 36 children, who were treated in the first year, showed an accelerated weight gain, with catch-up growth and the maintenance of length gain. There was a significant increase in the weight for age, at 1.9% per month over six months, which exceeds the rate reported with food supplementation programmes and nutrition rehabilitation centres.
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