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FIGHTING MALARIA

in conflict-affected regions of Chad

Story by United Nations Development Programme April 21st, 2017

13 million vulnerable people in some of the hardest to reach regions of Chad will soon be reached with insecticide treated bednets. As World Malaria Day 2017 approaches, UNDP and the Global Fund are stepping up the fight ahead of the rainy season.

Bednets are stored in one of four warehouses before distribution across more than 4000 sites and 2 million households.
“They came to the neighbouring village. They killed many people there, robbed and burned the houses. That’s why we left our village.”

Yongou and her family left their home and all their belongings two years ago when Boko Haram attacked a nearby village. Now they live in a camp for internally displaced people in Lake Chad.

Bol (Chad) - Yongou Mahamat putting up a mosquito net outside her house.
Yongou Mahamat's children under their only mosquito net outside her house. They fled their home two years ago when Boko Haram approached.
Bol (Chad)  - Yongou Mahamat's children under their only mosquito net outside her house.

It is a familiar story for many living in Chad. As a result of conflicts in neighbouring countries and the ensuing crisis in the Lake Chad region, the country now hosts over half a million refugees, internally displaced people and returnees.

Bol (Chad) - Many people in the Lake Chad region have been displaced due to Boko Haram attacks.

For these vulnerable populations, the upcoming rainy season now poses a new threat. Malaria is the leading cause of death in the country, with children under the age of five and pregnant women the most affected.

Drake camp, South Chad - Woman washing clothes at the river, a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Mother and her 1 month old baby in Dolinda in South of Chad, one of the regions most-affected by malaria.
N'Djamena (Chad) - Women take water. Around 1400 families returned from Central Africa are living in the Gaoui camp.
N'Djamena - Chad - Khadidja Abdoulaye, mother of four children, talking with other women in Gaoui camp under a mosquito net.
Gaoui Camp - Pools of water attract mosquitoes. The closest health centre is 4km away and many people can't afford to visit.
Djako (Chad)- Adam Algami and his family  under bednets in Djako camp.
“Every year here, my children get malaria,” Yongou explained. “I have to bring them to the hospital.”
Mbéré river in Moundou (Chad). Slow-moving waters are considered a prime breeding ground for malaria

Over 97 percent of the population are at risk of contracting the disease and of the 800,000 confirmed cases reported in 2016, more than 44 percent were children under the age of five. Nine percent were pregnant women. Lake Chad islanders like Yongou and her family also face increased risk as the region is one of the most malaria affected regions in the country.

N'Djamena (Chad)- Doctor looks through his microscope at the Renaissance hospital in N'Djamena.
N'Djamena - Chad - Children under mosquito net. Malaria is main cause of mortality and morbidity here.
N'Djamena - Chad - Doctor with malaria test at the Renaissance hospital in N'Djamena.
N'Djamena, Chad - Over 97 percent of the Chad population are at risk of contracting malaria.
“During the rainy season, it’s full of mosquitos here. There are so many that we have to push them away with our hands,” explained MBokoye, the Yakoua village chief. “People don’t have enough mosquito nets, so we have to bring back some wood to make a fire so the smoke will chase away the mosquitoes.”

With just one mosquito net for her entire family, Yongou has been struggling to take the precautions needed to keep her loved ones safe. “Our mosquito net has many holes. When it is torn, I sew it with a needle and thread,” she explained.

Mbokoye Abba Tchouloum is the chief of Yakoua village, where people displaced due to Boko Haram attacks are living in a camp.
Yongou Mahamat with her daughter . They currently have just one mosquito net for a family of six.
Of  the 800,000 malaria cases reported in 2016, more than 44 percent were children under the age of five and 9 percent were pregnant women.

To ensure families like Yongou’s are protected when the rains arrive, UNDP and the Global Fund are supporting the government of Chad to carry out a massive bednet distribution campaign across the country. 13 million people will soon be reached with long-lasting insecticidal nets in some of the hardest-to-reach and conflict-affected regions of Chad.

Zaal village (Chad) - Insecticide-treated mosquito nets distribution.

Nets have been distributed across more than 4000 sites and 2 million households and 25,000 people from local communities have been recruited and trained to help identify those most in need and the most effective distribution locations.The challenging context, including an infrastructure gap, has required a collaborative approach, with UNDP working closely with partners including the World Food Programme (WFP). The distributions are also supported by an awareness raising campaign to ensure people understand how to correctly use the bednets and to dispel any myths or rumours about the benefits and safety of sleeping under the nets.

These messages are relayed by religious leaders across denominations throughout the country. Around 180 of them were trained by UNDP and the National Malaria Control Program to deliver awareness messages during their preaching. 30,000 copies of an information sheet detailing The 10 Golden Rules against malaria were distributed in Arabic and French to imams, priests, pastors and other religious leaders of the country to facilitate their work.

A man carries a bag of insecticide-treated bednets in a warehouse in Bongor (Chad) before distribution.
A man carries a bag of insecticide-treated bednets to a truck from the warehouse in Bongor.
Malaria is the main cause of death in Chad, particularly affecting children and pregant women.
UNDP and Global Fund are stepping up the fight by supporting the distribution of  7 millions bednets  to reach 13 million vulnerable people.
30,000 copies of an information sheet detailing The 10 Golden Rules against malaria were distributed in Arabic and French.

While the number of new malaria cases has fallen globally, millions of people continue to be left behind. In 2015 one child died from malaria every two minutes and sub-Saharan Africa was home to 90% of malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths. In Chad, malaria continues to harm all aspects of human development efforts.

Lake chad region is one of the most affected malaria regions in the country.
“A person who has malaria can’t go to work, a child who has malaria can’t go to school” explained Doctor Djiddi Ali Sougoudi, Coordinator for the National Programme against malaria. “Malaria is one of the reasons for Africa's lack of development,” he adds.
Doctor Djiddi Ali Sougoudi, Coordinator for the National Programme against malaria in Chad.
Doctor Djiddi Ali Sougoudi, Coordinator for the National Programme against malaria in Chad.

The UNDP-managed Global Fund grant for malaria in Chad will run until June 2018 and aims to achieve a 50 percent reduction in both malaria morbidity and mortality.

Bongor (Chad)- Serferbe Bienvenue putting up her mosquito net with her son.
Djako - Chad -  Children under bed-nets.
13 million people across some of the most remote and conflict-affected regions of Chad will benefit from the bednet distribution.
Footnote: Photos: © UNDP Chad / Aurélia Rusek // Text: Rebecca Webb / UNDP Chad
Republic of Chad