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Severe acute malnutrition (SAM, or severe wasting) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM, or moderate wasting) affect 52 million children under five years of age around the globe. This systematic review, commissioned by the Humanitarian Evidence Programme and carried out by a research team from the University of Sheffield, represents the first attempt to apply systematic review methodology to establish the relationships between recovery and relapse and between default rates and repeated episodes of default or relapse in the management of acute malnutrition in children in humanitarian emergencies in low- and middle-income countries.

The systematic review, together with corresponding executive summary and evidence brief, forms part of a series of humanitarian evidence syntheses and systematic reviews commissioned by the Humanitarian Evidence Programme. Other reports in the series review the evidence on interventions or approaches to mental health, child protection, market support and household food security, pastoralist livelihoods, shelter self-recovery and targeting in urban settings.

The Humanitarian Evidence Programme is a partnership between Oxfam GB and the Feinstein International Center at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University. It is funded by the United Kingdom (UK) government’s Department for International Development (DFID) through the Humanitarian Innovation and Evidence Programme.

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