Emergency Response: Chad, March 2012.
More than 10 million people are facing food insecurity and over one million children are at risk of severe acute malnutrition in the Sahel region of Western Africa.
Lower than anticipated rainfall, poor local harvests, high food prices and continuing conflict across the region has resulted in a ‘forgotten food crises across Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Chad, northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon.
Merlin has identified Chad as one of the countries most in need of nutritional and health care support, which to date has not been sufficiently provided by national governments or international aid organizations to meet the increasingly critical needs.
In February 2012 Merlin’s Emergency Response Team carried out an assessment in Chad in order to clarify the needs of the population and design the most effective response possible.
Merlin’s Health Assessment: Chad
- The health system in Chad is not able to respond adequately to even the most basic health needs of its population, let alone the increasing demands resulting from the current food crisis.
- Those most vulnerable to acute malnutrition include young children, breastfeeding mothers and pregnant women, and the elderly and disabled populations.
- The food crisis is likely to result in 127,000 children aged between six months to five years being affected by Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in 2012.
- Maternal mortality levels are currently 1,200 per 100,000 live births, four times higher than the Millennium Development Goal of 325 and twice as high as the Sahel regional average of 620.
- Cholera is endemic across the country but a further outbreak is expected in June with the beginning of the rainy season, while malaria is said to account for at least one death in five in children under five years.
Merlin is planning to respond immediately to the health and nutrition needs of half a million people in Chad.
Merlin want to stop needless deaths and is launching an emergency response focusing on the health of mothers, babies and children under five. Merlin will work in the Hadjer Lamis Region of West Chad, supporting health facilities and services at community and township level.
Merlin’s emergency response will:
- Increase access to free primary healthcare (preventative and curative) for 500,000 people living in two townships, where over 75,000 children under five years and 17,500 pregnant women & new mothers live.
- Offer essential care services, which will include the management of acute malnutrition with additional food and vitamin supplements and respond to any disease outbreaks.
- Train and support local health workers so they can respond to future emergencies and disease outbreaks (including cholera, measles, meningitis, and polio).
Due to the large-scale need within Chad and the limited capacity of its health system, Merlin plan to develop a longer term program from the emergency response plan (first 3 months).
Merlin ultimately, aim to offer a broad range of integrated health services, with a focus on building the capacity of the health system by training local health workers and supporting the Ministry of Health, so that national staff will be able to respond to future emergencies.
Please donate to this appeal now, so that Merlin can prevent needless deaths and help to stop another famine.