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A Year of Hard Work and Lives Saved

16 February 2014
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A Year of Hard Work and Lives Saved

After a year of delivering life-saving humanitarian aid to the people of Chad, Medair looks back at a year of hard work and lives saved as the programme closes.

Medair has been responding to an acute malnutrition crisis in Abdi District of Chad’s Ouaddai region. In 2013, Medair admitted 5,924 children to its therapeutic nutrition programme at 10 clinics and one mobile site and screened more than 25,000 children scattered across 194 rural villages. “Our team made considerable progress reaching remote communities with the programme and many children’s lives were saved as a result,” said Maarten Fontein, Head of Country Programme, Chad.

Working in a remote area with poor accessibility presented its share of challenges but staff kept finding ways to reach clinics and provide nutrition services to thousands of young children. Indeed, Medair treated almost twice as many children as originally expected, and improved the capacity of the local health services to identify malnutrition and manage a nutrition programme.

However, despite these positive results, it has not been possible to attract sufficient resources required to continue delivering ongoing humanitarian relief. After considering all options, Medair has had to proceed with closing the programme. “This has been a very hard decision for us to make,” says Maarten. “There remain a lot of children with acute malnutrition in Abdi district; in recent weeks we have continued to see high numbers coming to therapeutic and supplementary feeding days. The drought-prone Sahel belt, which runs across Chad, is a region that consistently ranks as one of the most vulnerable and least developed on earth. Yet to many outsiders, Chad remains an unknown; as sadly highlighted, it is a forgotten crisis.”

Moving forward.

Over the past two months, Medair has worked closely with government officials, local authorities and other humanitarian agencies, as well as the beneficiary communities, to ensure that its departure from the region passed as smoothly as possible for all stakeholders. Medair is thankful for the very good collaboration that made this possible.

"I am very grateful for all that Medair has done," said Acha, mother of a acutely malnourished child who recovered to health in the nutrition programme. "In the future, I will know how to recognise a malnourished child and will advise other mothers to do what I did: take their children to a treatment centre."

Medair Chad was supported by the E.C. Directorate-General for Humanitarian Aid and by generous private donations.

Medair helps people who are suffering in remote and devastated communities around the world survive crises, recover with dignity, and develop skills to build a better future.

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