The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Tim Shenk,Press Officer,Direct: 212-763-5764,E-mail:,

Chad Nutrition Crisis Requires Accelerated Response

MSF Calls for Increased Deployment of Assistance to Stem Alarming Child Malnutrition


People living in the Sahelian belt of Chad are facing one of the
worst nutrition crises in recent years. The international medical
humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans
Frontieres (MSF) is calling for a faster and larger deployment of
humanitarian assistance to meet the needs of the most vulnerable
populations, particularly children under the age of five.

Several factors, including erratic rainfall, failed harvests, soaring
food prices, early depletion of food stocks, and poor access to
healthcare, have contributed to increased rates of malnutrition. In the
Hadjer Lamis region, recent rapid nutrition screenings show that over
five percent of children less than five years of age are suffering from
severe acute malnutrition and are at risk of dying. An estimated 5,000
children in Hadjer Lamis alone are in urgent need of nutritional

"We are very worried about the number of severely malnourished children
that our medical teams are seeing - close to 3,000 children were
admitted to our programs in the month of May," said Dr. Benoit Kayembe,
MSF emergency medical coordinator in Chad.

This current rise in malnutrition is especially alarming since it
coincides with the beginning of the "hunger season." More children are
at risk of becoming severely malnourished in the coming weeks, until the
next expected harvest in October.

National authorities and local and international agencies have
initiated a response to the severe food security crisis. Despite these
efforts, there are still many communities not receiving food and
nutritional assistance. MSF calls for an accelerated and expanded
emergency response in all affected areas to meet the needs of the most
vulnerable, especially children under five, whose nutritional needs are
especially acute.

MSF is currently implementing emergency nutrition interventions in the
Hadjer Lamis, Batha, Guera, Salamat, and Quaddai regions, as well as in
the capital N'Djamena. Activities include in-patient and ambulatory
therapeutic feeding centers and targeted food distributions to over
60,000 children in the coming weeks.

Chad is not the only country facing a malnutrition crisis. Most
countries located in the Sahel region are experiencing increasing rates
of childhood malnutrition. MSF has also already begun operating
emergency nutrition programs-and reinforcing existing ones-in Niger,
Mali, Burkina Faso, and Sudan.

MSF recently launched "Starved for Attention," a major, global
multimedia campaign to highlight the crisis of childhood malnutrition
and how increased childhood sickness and death can be prevented with
effective nutrition interventions:

MSF has been working in Chad since 1981. The organization is
providing medical assistance to resident and displaced populations in
Abeche, Ade, Kerfi, and Dogdore, as well as to refugees from the
neighboring Sudanese region of Darfur and from Central African Republic.
MSF has also intervened in Chad in response to medical emergencies,
such as measles and meningitis outbreaks.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) is an international medical humanitarian organization created by doctors and journalists in France in 1971. MSF's work is based on the humanitarian principles of medical ethics and impartiality. The organization is committed to bringing quality medical care to people caught in crisis regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. MSF operates independently of any political, military, or religious agendas.