Saving lives of malnourished children in Batha Province.
UNICEF and its partners are fighting malnutrition in Chad.
Siham’s worrying condition was noticed by a community outreach worker in her village in Chad during an awareness- raising activity. While her mother Bialliye Mahamat mentioned a simple diarrhea, the two-year-old girl showed other signs including a high fever, thinning limbs and brittle hair.
Siham was soon referred to the Djedda Health Centre where diagnoses showed that she was suffering from severe acute malnutrition. From then on, Siham was treated for diarrhea and fever, and also received micronutrients to enrich her diet. After about 10 days, she was gradually showing a new face, which comforted her mother. "My prayers have been answered, my daughter is much better now, and I am happy" said her mother, a 22-year-old housewife, who lives with her husband, a cattle breeder in Allhnedie village, in Chad’s Batha province.
After about two weeks of treatment at the health centre, Bialliye and her daughter were allowed to return home, under the continuous supervision of community outreach workers.
Before she was treated at the health centre, my daughter was not eating and had lost weight, but I thought it was due to diarrhea and that it would eventually pass.
Now Bialliye is dreaming to see her daughter embrace a medical career, wear a white doctor coat and serve the community.
"I want my daughter to become a nurse, so that she can also treat other children; my husband and I cannot afford it, but I want it very much," she confides.
Bialliye praises the work of the community outreach workers. She says she has acquired a lot of knowledge during the awareness activities, and this has greatly changed her practices related to her child's feeding.
Mohamed Ahmat, the community outreach worker at the Djedda health centre who raised the alarm on Siham’s condition, strongly believes his work helps women and children a lot. On a daily basis, the community relays raise awareness and take care of malnourished children. They target pregnant women as well as those who are breastfeeding children between 0 and 5 years of age.
However, Mohamed highlights a major challenge in Djedda: the street vendors of medicines, commonly known as "Choukou Doctors". They sell prohibited medical products through informal channels. "The Choukou Doctors put the lives of the population at risk and also hinder our work. We raise awareness in the community about the dangers of their products, but in our absence, some people still seek their services. We have to find a solution to this," he said.
Mohamed is truly convinced that his community needs him and for this reason he devotes most of his time to it. "When you really love your community, you have to be committed to it. It is our duty to contribute to the welfare of our community," he added.
Koshoguena Miguena, the nutrition focal point of the Batha provincial health delegation, says he is pleased and proud of his collaboration with UNICEF:
My team and I have been working with UNICEF for almost 10 years, and together we have made significant progress on child malnutrition. The capacities of health workers and community outreach workers have been strengthened, and we have substantial supplies of medical products and inputs, which allow us to save children from malnutrition. We thank UNICEF for its confidence, but also and above all for its commitment to the poorest populations and especially to children.
Thanks to the financial support of the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), UNICEF, with the support of its partners, has saved 159 children from malnutrition from January to September 2022.