Many Chadians face acute poverty and hunger on a daily basis. The country comes 187th out of 189 in the Human Development Index and – as is so often the case – children are amongst those at highest risk.
That’s why MAI is now partnering with Guinebor II Hospital to make sure the very youngest children get the vital, life-saving nutrients they need.
Here’s Guinebor II’s Melanie Spears to explain more:
‘A year ago I moved to Chad with my GP husband Tom and our two young daughters.
I lead the SAFE-EM (Soins Abordable pour Femmes Enceintes et Enfants Malnutris*) project to improve the care of children in their first 1,000 days of life.
The need is overwhelming.
Just yesterday Habiba arrived at the hospital with her 3-year-old son, Moussa. She explained that he had been ill for weeks. But despite visiting three different health centres no one could tell her what was wrong.
We diagnosed him with severe acute malnutrition and TB and gave him therapeutic food and TB medication. With four other children at home, our subsidised, high quality care will make a real difference to Habiba and her family.
Another crucial way to protect children is by encouraging breastfeeding immediately after birth and exclusively during the first six months of life.
In Chad, there’s an almost universal practice of giving water to babies. It’s understandable in such a hot country, but it costs many lives.
Changing cultural practices like this does not come easily. So we are listening and exploring these attitudes with women at the antenatal clinic to see how best to bring about change – and save babies’ lives.’
Life-changing projects in high risk situations like this can’t happen without consistent month in, month out support.