The destructive wave of malnutrition in Chad needs to be halted
Throughout the Sahel, the 2017 rainy season was characterized by insufficient rainfall distribution, both temporally and spatially, leading to a rainfall deficit in large grazing areas, a localized decrease in agricultural production, plus early onset and prolongation of the 2018 dry season. The cost of staple foods remained high. Around the Lake Chad basin, trade flows were disrupted by armed conflict.
Chad is a member of the Scaling-Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, and the SUN global coordinator visited Chad in July 2018 to advocate for improved nutrition with national authorities. Through the multisectoral platform of the Standing Technical Committee for Food and Nutrition, a functional capacity analysis on nutrition coordination mechanisms was carried out. Based on the recommendations, an action plan was finalized to support governance and domestic investment of nutrition.
This package completes the multisectoral action plan for food and nutrition as part of the overall strategy to reduce poverty and contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goal 2.
- 13.5 per cent under-5 global acute malnutrition (GAM)
- 4.0 per cent under-5 severe acute malnutrition rate (SAM)
- 12 of 23 provinces with over 15 per cent GAM and 31.9 per cent SAM
- 17.7 per cent exclusive breastfeeding (from 5.5 per cent in 2015)
- 36.5 per cent of children aged 0 to 23 months breastfed during the first hour after birth
- 43 per cent children aged 6 to 8 months introduced to complementary foods on time
- 75 per cent young children affected by anemia and more than one-third of adult women.
UNICEF in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and its partners, is investing on improved integrated nutrition interventions to address underlying and direct factors that contribute to child and women undernutrition. This includes health system strengthening and nutrition surveillance.
A focus will also be placed on the promotion of adequate maternal nutrition during the windows of opportunity (from woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday) with a strong community-based multisectoral approach with health, Wash, C4D, education and child protection.
Scaling up treatment of severe acute malnutrition (SAM)
It is expected that over 304,600 children will suffer from SAM in 2019 in Chad. However, many of these children will not benefit from adequate services due to the low coverage of SAM services and limited funding. Despite significant efforts made, there is still a need to increase the coverage and maintain the quality of IMAM services to ensure adequate treatment of malnourished children. Currently, the SAM services are available in 707 health facilities out 1,334 functional ones (53 per cent).
As the lead agency on ensuring the availability of the most needed supplies, including Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and medicines for timely and quality treatment of SAM cases, UNICEF is actively supporting the local authorities to develop innovative approaches such as the simplified protocol, or integrating community mobilization to address social norms and traditional practices that hamper child growth and development.
Integrate the prevention of undernutrition
UNICEF will support the Government in the implementation of cost effective and high impact interventions that include Vitamin A supplementation and deworming, multiple micronutrient supplementation targeting adolescent girls, maternal nutrition during pregnancy and lactation and the promotion of appropriate infant and young child practices, with a focus on early and exclusive breastfeeding.
Dynamic communication and sensitization activities will be engaged with the communities, including leaders to stimulate change on practices and inappropriate socials norms as well as health seeking behaviours. This will positively affect both prevention and treatment.
At upstream level, efforts will be reinforced to advocate for the adoption of the national code of breast milk substitute. The partnership established with other UN agencies through the REACH initiative and the SUN movement will be used as a platform to support advocacy for improved governance on nutrition, domestic investment and the adoption and application of legal documents such as the commercialization of iodized salt and inspections in border zones.