Chad: A slow transition from substitution to support

  • International staff: 28
  • National staff: 230 Years of chronic instability and continuous civil strife have left Chad one of the least developed countries in the world. The medical system is one of the world's poorest; it is estimated that only 30% of the population has access to health services. And, despite some improvement in the health infrastructure in recent years, Chad still has a serious lack of qualified health professionals. Active in Chad since 1981, MSF has been working to improve the quality of health care, and to support Chadian professionals as they take on the responsibilities of running public health services. Basic support for several health districts The foundation of MSF's work in Chad is the support of several operational health districts in the prefectures of Mayo-Kebbi, Logone Oriental, and Moyen-Chari, all in the southwestern part of the country near the borders with Cameroon and the Central African Republic. MSF teams help supervise the health districts, and they perform surgery and care for patients in the district hospitals. They train public and community health care workers. MSF has also introduced cost recovery programs to help make some of the health care services self-sustaining. Responding to emergencies In addition to its long-term work in the health districts, over the last year MSF has also responded to several emergencies in Chad, the largest of which was a massive meningitis outbreak that hit the country in January 2000. MSF teams mobilized to vaccinate over one million people in Mayo-Kebbi, Logone Oriental, Logone Occidental, Tandjilé and Moyen-Chari. The organization also supplied six metric tons of emergency cholera kits along with treatment education to health workers in Mayo-Kebbi and Logone Oriental to help these areas cope with seasonal cholera outbreaks. As Chad slowly rebuilds its human and medical resources, MSF will continue moving from a substitution role to one of technical support.