N’DJAMENA, CHAD, 6 October 2010 – Floods in Chad since July have resulted in one of country’s worst cholera epidemics in 10 years, forcing UNICEF and its operational partners to scale up their activities, especially along the border with Cameroon.
“With three regions affected by the epidemic, including the capital, N’Djamena, and with an average of 50 cases per day, the urgency to act and to expand outreach is more pressing than ever”, explained UNICEF Representative in the country, Dr Marzio Babille
“UNICEF supports both the authorities and other organizations, in the treatment of the sick and in public health and preventive activities that will help containing mortality and stopping the spread of the epidemic”, he added.
As of 2 October, 2,591 cases of cholera have been reported and 112 people have died.
UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Social Action, the Ministry of Health, WHO, international and national NGOs and partnering institutions to tackle the epidemic.
Its Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) section is the lead of the cluster response, with partners like the Croix Rouge Tchadienne and Codewan, a local NGO working at the village level. Cholera kits were donated to hospitals and NGOs, and technical assistance provided to the Ministry of Health.
A specific communication and public information campaign is also underway through radio messages, distribution of leaflets and posters, as well door-to-door sensitization of the population.
In Goigudum, known as the golden village, as men and women come here to search for the precious metal, UNICEF Specialist, Dr Jorge Caravotta, reported that many lives have been lost in the past weeks due to cholera. Patients are coming every day to an improvised camp to get a dose of doxicicline, rehydration salts and in some cases emergency IV fluid, but insufficient material represents a major threat.
“Here no organization has come yet to provide substantial help and four government staff are coping alone with the load of patients”, he said.
Scaling up interventions is a priority as floods and cholera also threaten to affect the return of children to schools, many displaced families being relocated in school buildings. An estimated 145,000 people have been affected by the floods in 12 regions.
UNICEF is on the ground in over 150 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
For further information, please contact:
Hector CALDERON, Chief Communications
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Mathias GILLMANN, Communication Specialist
Tel +235 66 20 17 41