Malnutrition eLearning

Project summary


Malnutrition is a major cause of death and disability among infants and children. An important reason behind the failure of malnutrition management is limited knowledge and competency of health professionals. It is imperative that their capacity in malnutrition management is developed. The WHO's standard guidelines for the management of malnutrition has proven to be efficacious and if scaled up, it will reduce childhood mortality by half. This can be achieved by providing health professionals with a standardised and accessible training on the management of malnutrition outlined in the WHO's guidelines.

With this aim, the IMTF and Faculty of Medicine eLearning teams at the University of Southampton have developed an eLearning course called "Caring for infants and children with severe malnutrition".

In collaboration with the Uganda Paediatric Association (UPA), a study was conducted in Uganda in December 2010 to evaluate the effectiveness of the course and appropriateness of its delivery.

Key features


The malnutrition project is part of the Nutrition eLearning solution and uses the same principles of the solution. The course is designed based on the WHO's guidelines.

It provides standardised and interactive learning materials, structured in 3 modules

  • Core concepts of malnutrition in module 1
  • Identification in module 2
  • Application and management in module 3

Although rich in media, the course is created to run on a low spec computer with a limited internet speed to enable its access in both developed and developing countries. By completing this course the user will gain the core knowledge and competencies required for the care and management of severe acute malnutrition.

Target audience


Existing and future health professionals, who have any responsibility for child care. The initial target audience is paediatricians.



The evaluation study in Uganda was conducted using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative methods (pre- and post-tests and questionnaires, observation, individual interviews, diaries, focus groups and tracking data). The study was planned through email correspondences between the UK project team and UPA. Four members of the project team went to Uganda to make the final arrangements and to conduct the study. Eighty-six, including doctors, medical students, nurses and nutritionists, participated in three half-days training.

The course was well received for its design and delivery. Participants' knowledge improved significantly between the pre- and post-test total scores (mean difference = 29.7, 99%CI, 26.9 to 32.5, p<0.001). Understanding of and competency in malnutrition management also improved (16 participants with good understanding to 66 and 9 being competent to 65 respectively). Further analysis is in progress.

Malnutrition Grant and Best Practice Award


Malnutrition Grant and Best Practice Award are offered by the International Malnutrition Task Force (IMTF) and University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine. If you would like to know about the Malnutrition grant and award, click here.



  • Chief investigator: Professor Alan Jackson
  • Project manager and solution designer: Dr Sunhea Choi
  • Author: Dr Reginald Annan
  • Reviewer: Professor Ann Ashworth Hill
  • Project promotion: Trevor Pickup
  • Research and evaluation: Dr Sunhea Choi, Trevor Pickup, Dr Reginald Annan
  • Design, media and development: FoM eLearning team



The malnutrition eLearning project was developed by the Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton with support from:

  • International Malnutrition Task Force (IMTF)
  • Faculty of Medicine, University of Southampton
  • Royal College of Paediatric and Child Health (RCPCH), UK
  • World Health Organisation
  • United Nations Children's Fund

The nutrition portal maintenance and malnutrition eLearning course user support are provided by the Faculty of Medicine University of Southampton and IMTF education group (volunteers).

Visit us


Please visit the nutrition portal and try the nutrition courses: Nutrition Portal