Uganda’s Arua District is home to some of the country’s largest refugee camps. The prevalence of moderate and severe acute malnutrition in children residing there is higher than the national estimates (10.4% and 5.6%, respectively, versus 3.6% and 1.3%).

This study assessed the quality of care provided in six health facilities in the district to acutely malnourished children. The overall scores were mediocre, revealing a number of gaps including a lack of adequately-skilled personnel, case mismanagement, the unavailability of basic supplies including therapeutic foods for children, and the absence of consolidated links with local communities.

Our findings suggest that the quality of care provided by the district’s health centers to malnourished children falls well below the recommended standards. It is critical, therefore, to find effective ways to improve their adherence to national guidelines and ensure the provision of therapeutic foods, ongoing service monitoring and the creation of more robust links with communities by way of health worker activities in villages.