Objectives This study aimed to determine the time to recovery from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and its predictors in selected public health institutions in Amhara Regional State, Ethiopia.
Design An institution-based retrospective follow-up study was conducted using data extracted from 1690 patient cards from September 2012 to November 2016.
Setting Selected government health institutions in the Amhara region, Ethiopia.
Participants Children treated in therapeutic feeding units for SAM were included.
Outcome measures Time to recovery from SAM.
Results One thousand and fifty children have recovered from SAM, 62.13% (95% CI 59.8% to 64.5%). The median time to recovery was 16 days (IQR=11-28). Female gender (adjusted HR (AHR)=0.81, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.98), oedematous malnutrition (AHR=0.74 95% CI 0.59 to 0.93), pneumonia (AHR=0.66, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.83), tuberculosis (AHR=0.53, 95% CI 0.36 to 0.77), HIV/AIDS (AHR=0.47, 95% CI 0.28 to 0.79), anaemia (AHR=0.73, 95% CI 0.60 to 0.89) and receiving vitamin A (AHR=1.43, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.82) were notably associated with time to recovery.
Conclusions The time to recovery in this study was acceptable but the proportion of recovery was far below the minimum standard. Special emphasis should be given to the prevention and treatment of comorbidities besides the therapeutic feeding. Supplementing vitamin A would also help to improve the recovery rate.