Helping communities in Chad become self-reliant
Eveline Beramgoto is the nurse in charge of the Agrab Health Centre thirty kilometres from Aboudeïa, Chad. “It used to be just a small room near the market area,” she recalls.
With funding from the European Union and support from International Medical Corps everything has changed. The centre now doesn’t just have a bed for deliveries, but a whole room dedicated to maternal health. International Medical Corps has installed solar panels on the roof that now provide a constant source of electricity, meaning the emergency healthcare work can continue throughout the night.
“At the start of our work together, many mothers didn’t see our centre as somewhere where they would like to give birth. Today we get an average of twelve deliveries each month,” Eveline says proudly.
She explains that the new centre allows mothers from the local community to seek treatment closer to home rather than having to go to Aboudeïa and face long queues to access the vital health care they need. As a mark of just how effective the move has been, certain diseases – such as measles – have completely disappeared from the community since the centre was reopened.
At the centre of this success story is one very proud nurse. “The Agrab Health Centre has become a symbol of health in the community,” says Eveline.
Nurse Hamid Haziz has been working in the Foulounga Health Centre in Aboudeïa district for three years.
When he first started, the building was just a large hall and there was no privacy for delivering children or for treating patients in a confidential setting.
“Most people here preferred to consult with traditional healers rather than come to the centre,” he explains. “We just did not have the facilities to support them properly.”
Today the centre receives more than 500 patients every month. With funding from the European Union, International Medical Corps has supported the renovation of the centre - building a pharmacy, an outpatient nutrition unit and a separate delivery room. International Medical Corps also provides regular training sessions to staff at the centre.
“The centre is completely different now,” according to Hamid.
“People in my community often come up to me and tell me how grateful they are for this support. Not only are we now able to provide access to healthcare for these people, but they can now be treated by qualified staff.
“We can now give people the dignity they deserve.”
Farah Nabak has been a traditional birth assistant for 15 years and is well respected in her community. Last year Farah benefited from two training courses organised by International Medical Corps on family planning, antenatal care and postpartum care.
“Before this training, I was not aware of the importance of ante-natal care,” she says. “Now we always encourage women to seek antenatal care and postpartum care services after giving birth.”
The training courses have not only allowed Farah to strengthen her knowledge of pre- and post-natal consultations, but also to help women directly at the health centre.
“Women now understand the importance of these consultations and more and more women seek our services here at the centre,” she adds.
With funding from EU, International Medical Corps has also been able to provide women with ‘baby kits’ containing soap, clothing and creams for their children.
International Medical Corps has been working in Chad since 2004, providing emergency health services to refugee and host populations and supporting projects in nutrition, immunisation, mental health and gender based violence. With funding from the European Union, International Medical Corps has been implementing programmes in health and nutrition as well as increasing self-reliance through training and capacity building in the community.