Chad: Tackling cholera and meningitis epidemics

Provision of basic health care continues in the prefectures of Mayo Kebbi and Logone Oriental, and in the district of Koumra. Consistent training of young people has enabled MSF to continue its policy in Chad of transferring responsibility to local medical staff. By early 2002, support in the Mayo Kebbi region had been reduced to Bongor and Pala, the largest and most populous districts. Beginning in July 2001, Chad was once again faced with epidemic levels of disease. A cholera epidemic started in the capital N'Djamena. MSF intervened through the installation of cholera treatment centers for the more than 5,000 registered cases. At the same time, flooding was reported in the region of Logone Occidental, and MSF responded to the increase in malaria and diarrheal diseases. Epidemic levels of meningitis were reached by March 2002. Mass vaccination of the population is the only way to halt a meningitis epidemic and nearly 80,000 people were vaccinated in Chad in early 2002. MSF is monitoring an emerging strain of meningitis (W135), which was the cause of a large-scale outbreak in Burkina Faso in spring 2002 (see page 18). Currently, the vaccine for W135 is virtually unavailable in Africa. International staff: 17 National staff: 200