Chad: Caring for Darfur refugees and vaccinating thousands

In April 2005, MSF teams determined that more than 6,000 people in Chad were infected with measles, including more than 3,400 in the capital city alone. A first vaccination campaign was launched in Bousso district, some 300 kilometers south of the capital, and targeted 40,000 children under five years of age.

The eastern region of Chad is dry and desolate with little potential for farming. Food and drinking water are scarce and temperatures are extreme. Lacking shelter, adequate food and other necessities, many refugees suffer from malnutrition, dehydration, respiratory infections or emotional trauma linked to their experiences in Darfur.

In Adré Hospital, MSF provides medical care, surgery, pediatric and maternal care. And MSF provides food and shelter to many of the 83,000 refugees living in four camps near the Sudanese border.

Immunization: a priority

In January 2005, MSF launched a meningitis-vaccination campaign in eastern Chad following an outbreak among Darfur refugees. Teams vaccinated about 70,000 refugees in the Breidjing and Forchana camps, as well as local residents. MSF continues to improve the surveillance system in the district and treats patients who have contracted the disease. Teams in the displacement camps also provide antenatal care and treatment for malnourished children. MSF built hundreds of latrines, trucked in clean water and opened health posts.

MSF carried out a meningitis vaccination campaign during March 2005 in Chad's southwestern Bongor district, following an outbreak of the disease. The campaign lasted one month and targeted all people between the ages of six months and 30 years, that is, 72 percent of the area's 272,000 people. The campaign was carried out in collaboration with local medical authorities and the ministry of health.

In April 2005, MSF teams determined that more than 6,000 people in Chad were infected with measles, including more than 3,400 in the capital city alone. A first vaccination campaign was launched in Bousso district, some 300 kilometers south of the capital, and targeted 40,000 children under five years of age. MSF provided medical support and drugs for 2,300 patients in Bousso, and supported 17 health centers for less severe cases and 2 hospitals for severely infected patients in N'Djamena.

In early May, MSF carried out a massive vaccination campaign in N'Djamena aimed at immunizing an estimated 280,000 children. Working with the ministry of health, MSF opened 29 mobile vaccination sites. Because measles is an aggravating factor for malnutrition, MSF opened two therapeutic feeding centers in N'Djamena and four mobile feeding centers near the city to care for those needing treatment.

In 2004, MSF started a malaria project in Bongor district, which aims to reduce levels of illness and death in the area. MSF is also working to improve treatment by introducing a new protocol that includes highly effective artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). MSF also runs a surgical training program at Bongor Hospital.

MSF has worked in Chad since 1981.

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