A local-ingredients-based supplement is an alternative to corn-soy blends plus for treating moderate acute malnutrition among children aged 6 to 59 months: A randomized controlled non-inferiority trial in Wolaita, Southern Ethiopia
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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OriginalversjonPLOS ONE. 2021, 16 (10), e0258715. 10.1371/journal.pone.0258715
Background Globally, moderate acute malnutrition (MAM) affects approximately 5% of children below five years of age. MAM is a persistent public health problem in Ethiopia. The current approach in Ethiopia for managing MAM is a supplementary feeding program; however, this is only provided to chronically food-insecure areas. The objective of the study was to compare a local-ingredients-based supplement (LIBS) with the standard corn-soy blend plus (CSB+) in treating MAM among children aged 6 to 59 months to test the hypothesis that the recovery rate achieved with LIBS will not be more than 7% worse than that achieved with CSB+. Methods and findings We used an individual randomized controlled non-inferiority trial design with two arms, involving 324 children with MAM aged 6 to 59 months in Wolaita, Southern Ethiopia. One hundred and sixty-two children were randomly assigned to each of the two arms. In the first arm, 125.2 g of LIBS with 8 ml of refined deodorized and cholesterol-free sunflower oil/day was provided. In the second arm, 150 g of CSB+ with 16 ml of refined deodorized and cholesterol-free sunflower oil/day was provided. Each child was provided with a daily ration of either LIBS or CSB+ for 12 weeks. Both intention-to-treat (ITT) and per-protocol (PP) analyses were done. ITT and PP analyses showed non-inferiority of LIBS compared with CSB+ for recovery rate [ITT risk difference = 4.9% (95% CI: -4.70, 14.50); PP risk difference = 3.7% (95% CI: –5.91, 13.31)]; average weight gain [ITT risk difference = 0.10 g (95% CI: -0.33 g, 0.53 g); PP risk difference = 0.04 g (95% CI: -0.38 g, 0.47 g)]; and recovery time [ITT risk difference = -2.64 days (95% CI: -8.40 days, 3.13 days); PP difference -2.17 days (95% CI: -7.97 days, 3.64 days]. Non-inferiority in MUAC gain and length/height gain was also observed in the LIBS group compared with the CSB+ group. Conclusions LIBS can be used as an alternative to the standard CSB+ for the treatment of MAM. Thus, the potential of scaling up the use of LIBS should be promoted.