The challenges and our response
International Medical Corps has provided emergency relief and healthcare in Chad since 2004, when hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees from Darfur poured into the eastern part of the country. Later, increased conflict in neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) caused thousands more refugees to flee to southern Chad.
To add to these challenges, the ongoing Boko Haram conflict in the Lake Chad Basin region (comprising Chad, Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon) has created internal displacement and an influx of still more refugees seeking safety from the violence. Emerging from decades of instability some five years ago, Chad is becoming an increasingly important stabilising player in central Africa. But the country still struggles with drought and food insecurity that is affecting the entire Sahel region. In response, International Medical Corps is implementing health, nutrition and food security activities in the Lac, Wadi Fira and Ouaddaï regions of Chad.
Health: In the face of scarce resources and regional instability, people in Chad struggle to protect and rebuild their lives. Since the start of our work in Chad in 2004, International Medical Corps’ services have reached an estimated 180,000 beneficiaries a year, including internally displaced people, Sudanese and Central African Republic refugees, and host community members.
Through 23 health centres, one hospital and 5 mobile medical units in the Lake region, and 14 health Centers and 1 hospital in Abdi, we deliver essential services, including secondary and primary health care, nutritional support, and maternal and child health services. Throughout all of our programs, International Medical Corps partners with local communities and emphasises training to develop the capacity needed for long-term recovery.
In addition to supporting the government in annual vaccination campaigns against polio, measles and meningitis, as part of its mandate, International Medical Corps has trained hundreds of health workers to ensure sustainability and handover to the local community when the level of emergency declines.
Nutrition and Food Security: Malnutrition remains the primary cause of morbidity and mortality for the most vulnerable populations of pregnant women, new mothers and children under five. The nutrition crisis is especially acute in eastern Chad, where in 2016 UNICEF estimated global acute malnutrition (GAM) in Ouaddaï Region at 16.9 percent, with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) at 3.6 percent.
International Medical Corps integrates malnutrition screening and treatment services into its primary and secondary healthcare activities. Program activities also focus on prevention and early identification of malnutrition through community-based mechanisms, such as training local mothers in nutrition screening, and mother support groups for infant and young child feeding (IYCF) counselling.
In two regions of the country, International Medical Corps is assisting women’s agricultural groups in vegetable gardening through the provision of seeds, tools and training. The planting of vegetable crops is contributing to household food diversity, especially important for young children and pregnant and lactating women, and generate supplemental income to meet household needs.