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MSF in Chad , 2009
Field Staff: 723
Reason for Intervention:
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Hundreds of thousands of people were affected by conflict, violence and displacement in Chad in 2009. Health services were restricted because of a lack of funding and qualified staff, and the situation was particularly severe in the east, where banditry, criminality and insecurity were widespread. More than 170,000 Chadians are still displaced in the east, having fled from the insecure regions near the Sudanese border which is also home to more than 256,000 Sudanese refugees and 67,000 refugees from the Central African Republic. MSF has been providing health services where the authorities have been unable to, paying special attention to displaced people and refugees.
Insecurity made it difficult to assess the health needs of resident and displaced people, especially those living in more remote villages. According to the United Nations Department of Safety and Security, 500 security incidents against civilians, UN workers and NGO workers occurred in the east of Chad last year.
In the Dar Sila region in the east of the country, MSF provided care to 15,000 displaced people in Gassire camp. In nearby villages Kerfi and Adé, MSF provided care and treatment to 40,000 people affected by internal displacement and continuing violence. Activities were suspended in August, however, after two MSF staff members were abducted during a robbery in Adé. In Kerfi, the full medical program was resumed only in October, and in Adé, services were resumed only in late November, when MSF provided remote support to Ministry of Health staff. Before the suspension, MSF carried out 1,600 - 2,000 consultations a month in Kerfi, and admitted 100 malnourished children a month for therapeutic feeding.
Despite these difficulties, MSF was able to perform more than 106,000 consultations in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. More than 3,500 people were hospitalized, 130 women were treated for fistulas, 640 children for malnourishment and 700 people for malaria in the eastern border area close to Sudan.
In Adré, a town with a population of 300,000 on the border with Sudan, MSF supported the local hospital throughout 2009. From January to October, more than 2,600 people were hospitalized, more than 900 of them children under five years old. Nearly 33,000 consultations were given in the first nine months of the year. However, insecurity made it impossible to access areas outside the town where other internally displaced people have settled.
In Dogdoré, a remote village near the Sudanese border, MSF provided healthcare to 30,000 people, 27,000 of whom are displaced. Security remained a challenge here, too, as banditry and criminality affected the people as well as the relief organizations. Relocation of international staff was necessary on two occasions, though local MSF staff ensured the continuity of medical activities.
Despite all these difficulties, more than 23,600 consultations were carried out, 700 people were hospitalized, and 640 severely malnourished children were treated in 2009. More than 2,600 women received antenatal consultations, some 280 of whom gave birth in Dogdoré hospital. A tetanus vaccination campaign was also run to reduce the risks of neonatal deaths linked to this disease, and more than 5,500 women received the vaccine. As a result, newborn deaths linked to tetanus were reduced from 35 in 2008 to 11 in 2009.
In Guereda in the east, near the border with Sudan, MSF closed the program that was providing aid to the displaced and to the Birak refugees, since the International Committee of the Red Cross had begun working in the hospital and the health authorities were able to cover the needs.
However, since maternal mortality in the area is still very high and the development of obstetrical fistulas common (the United Nations Population Fund estimates that between two and five fistulas develop every 1,000 deliveries), MSF continued to send women with the condition to be treated in Abéché General Hospital in the east of the country. Between January and October, more than 140 women were treated.
MSF responded to an outbreak of measles in the Ouaddai region in the east of Chad. More than 226,000 children aged six months to nine years were vaccinated against the disease. MSF also responded to an outbreak of measles in Abéché, where 130,000 people under 15 years old were vaccinated, and in Adré where a further 6,000 children under five years old received the vaccine. More than 5,500 women between 15 and 49 were vaccinated against tetanus in the same region.
There was also a meningitis outbreak in the southern regions of Mayo Kebbi Est and Ouest, and in the capital city N’Djamena. MSF supported the Ministry of Health in treating more than 1,200 people, and in the mass campaign that vaccinated 105,000 people aged between two and 30.
The south of the country the arrival of refugees from Central African Republic, means existing health services are struggling to cope with diseases such as malaria, meningitis and measles.
In Goré MSF continued to respond to medical needs until November when the program was handed over. Between January and November, teams provided 16,800 consultations, more than 730 surgical interventions, and assisted 600 deliveries.
In March, 8,000 refugees escaped instability and violence in Central African Republic by moving to the Haraze district in the southeast of the country. MSF provided healthcare, set up a drinking water supply system and organized the referral of patients who needed surgery. More than 5,400 consultations and 250 antenatal consultations were carried out during the two months of the intervention.
MSF has worked in Chad since 1981.