Chad: a major intervention against measles led by MSF and the Ministry of Public Health

Chad: a major intervention against measles led by MSF and the Ministry of Public Health

N’DJAMENA, CHAD – Last May, 39,325 children were vaccinated against measles by the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) emergency response team (CERT) in support of the Chadian Ministry of Public Health, in the provinces of Salamat and Moyen Chari. This vaccination campaign targeted children aged between 6 months and 10 years, and was accompanied by a catch-up of routine vaccination under the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) for 1,848 children aged between 0 and 11 months. In addition, 950 people with measles, including 799 children aged between 6 months and 5 years, were treated at Am-Timan provincial hospital and health centres.

Measles outbreaks are recurrent in Chad, where they are one of the main causes of death among children. Vaccination coverage remains low throughout the country, and many families, including those living in urban areas, have difficulty accessing routine EPI services.

Awareness-raising and health promotion as a core of approach

As community involvement is at the heart of MSF's activities, the teams worked closely with the population concerned to involve them in understanding medical and paramedical needs and access to care, while taking into account specific socio-cultural and health issues.

The health promotion teams have raised awareness among more than 27,000 people about measles, free healthcare, diseases with epidemic potential, nutrition and the importance of vaccination. "These efforts play a crucial role in preventing the spread of measles," explains Mbaiornom Dankar Fidele, Health Promotion supervisor. "We work together with local communities, whether it's awareness-raising, promotion or mutual support, so that they feel involved and concerned in the fight against measles".

Multifaceted support for the Ministry of Health

CERT was set up to provide a rapid and effective response to victims of armed conflict, populations affected by epidemics or endemics, victims of natural disasters, violence or exclusion from healthcare. In general, MSF supports the Ministry of Health in several regions of Chad to provide a wide range of care, including consultations, hospitalization, medico-nutritional care, surgery, maternal and childcare, mental health and many other non-medical needs.

Measles, an acute viral infection of the respiratory system characterised by a rash of tiny red dots, is considered to be the most contagious disease in the world. In the absence of specific treatment, vaccination is the most effective medical tool against measles.

In 2023, MSF teams in Chad vaccinated more than 1,153,900 people against measles, carried out more than 247,600 outpatient consultations, treated more than 134,400 people against malaria, cared for more than 31,900 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and treated more than 14,800 hospitalised patients.

Hannah Hoexter Senior Press Officer, MSF UK




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