Poverty & Healthcare

Malnutrition is ever present

Water-borne diseases such as cholera and malaria pose a significant health risk, particularly in the wetter south. However, the main risk to health is malnutrition.

Never enough food

The western Kanem region (along the border with Niger) has some of the most shocking hunger statistics in the world. Over the past decade, child malnutrition rates here have dipped only once below the World Health Organization’s emergency threshold of 15%.

Even in good years, a third of the population remains undernourished. Instability and climate change, combined with poverty and a rapidly growing population, mean that Chadians frequently struggle to feed their families.

When rains fail, people have no way of feeding themselves; the majority of the population depend on subsistence farming or herding. In 2012, drought left over 3 million Chadians in need of food, according to the World Food Programme.

Widespread poverty

High child mortality rate

With poor nutrition and the threat of disease, 20% of children (or 1 in 5) do not live to see their fifth birthday. (WHO 2009).

Nearly two-thirds of people in Chad live below the poverty line and the population remains among the world’s poorest. The 2010 United Nations Human Development Index ranked Chad near the bottom, at 163 out of 169 countries.

The World Bank has pulled out of programmes, because oil revenues are not being invested by the government into alleviating poverty.

Improving a poor health network

  • Medical care being provided
  • Awaiting medical care

Very few doctors

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there were only 345 doctors working in the country during 2000-2010, which equates to just 0.4 physicians for every 10,000 people.

Though there are hospitals in the cities and large towns, facilities are generally very poor. And like many other African countries, Chad suffers from a severe shortage of medical staff.

A network of health centres has been set up across the country. However, these centres are not well-staffed. And there are not enough of them to cover the needs of the population.

The United Nations and donor partners hope to boost the number of health staff working across the country by 1,000 in 2012.