Traditional approaches to therapeutic feeding in emergencies depend on therapeutic feeding centres (TFCs) as their primary mode of intervention. Such centres provide intensive, high-quality care for severely malnourished individuals. However, there are major drawbacks with the TFC approach, which have limited its population-level impacts on the mortality and morbidity associated with severe acute malnutrition.
This paper describes a new approach: Community-based Therapeutic Care (CTC). CTC programmes aim to treat the entire severely malnourished population, with the majority being treated at home, rather than in TFCs or in Nutritional Rehabilitation Units (NRUs). CTC is rooted in public health principles of coverage, population-level impact and cost-effectiveness, and focuses on the sociological, epidemiological and food technology aspects of nutritional interventions. The aim is to utilise and build on existing capacities, thereby helping to equip communities to deal with future periods of vulnerability.