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Default Rate

Indicator Phrasing

% of children who were absent for two consecutive weighings
See indicator in other languages

Indicator Phrasing

English: % of children who were absent for two consecutive weighings

French: % d'enfants absents pendant deux prises de poids consécutives

Portuguese: % de crianças ausentes em duas pesagens consecutivas

Czech: % dětí nepřítomných u dvou po sobě jdoucích vážení

What is its purpose?

The default rate is one of the four core performance indicators of malnutrition treatment programs. It represents the proportion of children discharged from the program who were absent for two consecutive weighings (i.e. so-called “defaulters”).

How to Collect and Analyse the Required Data

To calculate the indicator's value, divide the number of “defaulters” by the total number of discharged children. Multiply the result by 100 to convert it to a percentage. The resulting number is the default rate (in percentages). 

Disaggregate by

Disaggregate the data by gender, geographic area, and age groups.

Important Comments

1) The indicator does not require a separate survey – all data can be gained from the treatment program’s regular records.


2) According to the Sphere Standards, a default rate of less than 15% is perceived as “acceptable”.


3) The four core performance indicators of a malnutrition treatment program (esp. the Community Management of Acute Malnutrition, CMAM) are recovery ratedeath rate, default rate and non-recovery rate.


4) A general way to think about defaulter is "the service is available but the child is absent" so the normal reason for default is difficulty to access the health facilities. However, in case a deficiency arises in the treatment program (such as stock out of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food) and the child still attends the programme but does not receive treatment, there is a need to capture that deficiency in some way. In case a new discharge category (e.g. unplanned service interruption) is created to capture this, the new category should be included in the denominator for the total number of discharges when calculating program outcomes. See more in discussions at En-Net

This guidance was prepared by People in Need ©

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