Action Against Hunger remains concerned at the alarming rates of acute malnutrition being observed in the region. Surveys, funded by DFID UK, were conducted in July and August by Action Against Hunger, in collaboration with the Chad Government, UNICEF, and World Food Programme (WFP) in the regions of Mao, Nokou, and Bahr El Ghazel, and these reveal that the rates of child malnutrition remain between 21-28%.
These rates continue to remain well in excess of the emergency threshold of 15% as indicated by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The WFP also reports that since May 2010, the levels of food insecurity have again increased in the Bahr El Ghazel region. In essence, 1 in every 4 children under the age of 5 are suffering from life threatening acute malnutrition, and 64% of households have critically insufficient food to feed their families.
What We are Doing
Action Against Hunger has scaled up its programmes to treat thousands of undernourished children by supporting 33 nutrition centres in Kanem and Bahr El Ghazel. It is also working with the Chad Ministry of Health to extend its treatment programmes in 10 additional health centres with the highest rates of acute malnutrition. This takes the number of supported health centres to 43, and will allow a significant increase in the access of quality care available. Support to the Chad Ministry of Health has allowed Action Against Hunger to define new protocols for treating malnutrition and these should allow a greater inclusion of children in nutrition programmes in the future, and thus help in significantly reducing infant mortality rates.
However, the needs are enormous and vastly outstrip the resources available to diagnose and treat all affected children. The current crisis is beyond all emergency norms and scales, and with malnutrition rates higher than that of Niger currently, it desperately needs not only immediate attention, but also a longer-term sustained approach to avoid future catastrophes.
In addition, Action Against Hunger is calling on the international community to support and invest in Chad’s health care system, which cannot cope currently as it has been crippled due to a shortage of funding, lack of medicines and few trained medical staff.
What Your Support Means.
Action Against Hunger would again like to say thank you to everyone who has generously donated thus far. Your ongoing support remains critical however.
Sadly, the emergency in Chad remains a ‘forgotten and hidden crisis’ in the world’s media, who have focused on more dramatic-image related natural disasters. Yet, this slow moving disaster has affected millions, and their suffering is also immense, despite the lack of media exposure. In addition, treatment for acute malnutrition is not only possible, but works effectively well. As such we ask for your continued support, and to kindly raise awareness amongst family and friends to contribute towards achieving the full funding required for this key project.
As such, at the end of September 2010, we still require much needed support to reach our initial target of £34,790 for this component of our project. A simple donation of £6 provides life saving treatment for one child for a week, and is a small price to make a priceless difference in the lives of malnourished children and their families in Chad.
We hope you will be able to help further.
Hitendra Solanki – Programme Funding Manager - Action Against Hunger - October 2010