Jun 2017 – Dec 2020

No Wasted Lives Coalition



Multiple countries – Global

To spur a global movement for high level political commitment and increased funding for the treatment and prevention of severe acute malnutrition

$2,835,000 Grant Value

$707,875 evaluation budget

Severe acute malnutrition (SAM) is under-prioritised and needs to become a political and public health priority.

An estimated 17 million children are reported to be severely acutely malnourished every year. Of the 17 million, under eight million are identified, less than four million are subsequently enrolled into treatment and only three million complete treatment. SAM is easily curable; ready to use therapeutic food (RUTF) is effective and can be delivered through health systems. However, we are not meeting demand because SAM is misunderstood, poorly financed and inadequately prioritised.

Although treating SAM is cost-effective, it is not always integrated into routine health systems as it is too expensive for many countries to afford. There is a financing gap; only $450 million of the total required $2.1 billion is spent annually to treat all SAM cases globally. 

In 2016 we launched the No Wasted Lives Coalition with ACF, UNICEF, DFID and the European Commission, with the aim of doubling the number of children receiving SAM treatment by 2020. Since launch World Food Program and International Rescue Committee have joined. The coalition is working to make SAM a political and public health priority through:

  • Discovering and disseminating effective ways to prevent and treat severe acute malnutrition. 
  • Mobilising additional funding and maximising the effectiveness of current spending.


In contributing to doubling the number of children on SAM treatment, this investment is expected to result in: 

  • Five high burden countries adopting reduction and treatment coverage targets. 
  • New treatment approaches raising coverage to 70% in country programmes. 
  • The cost of treating a severely acutely malnourished child reduced to $100 or less. 
  • Global financial commitments raised to at least $600 million per year.