Project #9971

Sahel, West Africa Food Crisis Emergency

by Merlin USA
May 8, 2013

Improving Responses to Malnutrition in Chad

Massaguet district, Chad
Massaguet district, Chad

The Sahel Food Crisis

Merlin responded quickly to malnutrition and food crisis in Chad and has managed to set up a successful program. Local authorities have expressed their appreciation of the program and of Merlin, and this will be the basis for our expansion of operations in Chad. We have successfully implemented activities that will reduce the vulnerability of communities to malnutrition.  Drawing from this experience, Merlin is designing longer-term programming using its own expertise, to address the underlying causes of malnutrition, such as poor access to clean water, hygiene and sanitation, child and infant feeding and care, and health promotion.

Key activities

Improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of malnutrition:

· 16 Health facilities supported are providing supplementary feeding program (SFP) and Outpatient Therapeutic Program (OTP) services.

· One stabilization center was set up, assisting 255 children suffering from severe malnutrition with complications.

· In total, 6,565 children under-5 were treated for severe acute malnutrition next hunger trap.

· malnutrition with complications.

· In total, 6,565 children under-5 were treated for severe acute malnutrition.

· 10,423 children under 5 and 4,191 pregnant and lactating women were treated for moderate malnutrition.

· 16,704 caretakers received health and nutrition training.

· 210 community health workers were trained on community-based management of acute malnutrition (CMAM).

· 48 health workers from the Ministry of Health were also trained on CMA.


Improving access to health:

· 3,568 patients were effectively treated for malaria, acute respiratory infection (ARI) and diarrhea.

· 2,190 children were vaccinated against measles.

· 1 mobile clinic provided nutrition and health services to 6 remote sites.


Improving the preparedness of communities:

· 1 cholera preparedness and response plan was developed for Massaguet health district by the local health authorities, with Merlin’s support.

· 1 cholera kit was positioned in advance in the district and all Health personnel and community informed on cholera case definition and procedures to reduce contamination.


Feed the body – feed the mind:

A growing body of research shows that integrating early childhood development activities into emergency nutrition programs is crucial child health. Child growth and brain development depend not only on good nutrition but also on stimulation and caretaker emotional responsiveness. Merlin is piloting the integration of psychosocial and early childhood development services within its stabilization center to improve support for the recovery of malnourished babies, and strengthen their caretakers’ abilities to adequately care for the child.



Merlin has been successful in establishing solid relationships with both local authorities and communities.  Merlin has ensured that its programs were developed in support of existing health authorities so as not to duplicate efforts, and to create unsustainable services. Merlin conducts regular meetings with community leaders and local authorities to discuss issues, and coordinates with all existing humanitarian forums. We continue to be open with authorities and respectful of cultures so as to ensure that we operate effectively.

Monitoring and Evaluation

Merlin monitors its programs systematically to be able to anticipate issues and provide solutions to mitigate them. Supported health centers report on a weekly basis to Merlin and our staff conducts regular monitoring visits to every center.

Where We are Now

Although donor response was large for the Sahel, funding available for Chad has decreased to a point where it is threatening all the gains made during the 2012 food crisis response. Despite this, Merlin is developing longer-term, cost-effective programs to target the underlying causes of malnutrition but is aware that with limited donor engagement, gaps will increase during the next hunger gap. It is only with you further support can our successes in Chad continue.



Zafaya Health Center, Chad
Zafaya Health Center, Chad
Stabilization center in Massaguet, Chad
Stabilization center in Massaguet, Chad

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Organization Information

Merlin USA

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Merlin USA
Project Leader:
Andrea Miles
Washington, DC United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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