The challenges and our response
International Medical Corps has provided emergency relief and health care in Chad since 2004, when hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees from Darfur poured into the eastern part of the country. Then, due to increased conflict in neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR), thousands more fled to southern Chad.
To add to these challenges, the ongoing Boko Haram conflict in the Lake Chad Basin region (comprised of Chad, Nigeria, Niger, 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: International Medical Corps currently supports 39 health centers, two hospitals, nine mobile medical unit sites and two refugee camps (Mile and Kounoungou) across three regions of Chad. Interventions range from emergency response for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees from the regional Boko Haram crisis to targeted support to district health system capacity to manage malnutrition, including the integration of Community-based Management of Malnutrition (CMAM) programs into primary and secondary health facilities. International Medical Corps upholds the protocols of the Chadian Ministry of Health, including its free health care policy aimed at children under five, pregnant and lactating women and displaced populations. Our staff provides curative consultations, inpatient and outpatient treatment for malnutrition, maternal and child health care, including clean and safe deliveries, secondary health care, and education on a variety of essential health, nutrition and hygiene topics. A network of community health workers in the Lake Region is providing community-based disease surveillance activities, and minor rehabilitation work is being carried out in health facilities.
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 health care 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) counseling.
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