Archives pour la catégorie NUTRITION

The milk of dispute

In Chad, traditional beliefs around breastfeeding are strong and inked deep

Growing up in Chad – a landlocked country of the Sahel belt –  is not easy. Malaria, Diarrhea and other diseases play a huge role in child mortality rate but so does traditional belief.

Yet, Harun Modogo is one of these local heroes that you would not expect to meet in such a challenging context. This Thursday morning, dozens of women arrived at Darasna’s health center with their children, some have walked more than 12 km to attend his session on the advantage of exclusive breastfeeding.

Harun is 42 years old and has been a committed community worker for almost 4 years. « I leave my children very early in the morning to come to work at the health center. What I do is important, I help people and I go home proud. » Harun raises awareness on the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in his community, fighting against old habits. In Chad, only 3% of women practice exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months.

« In Darasna there is no woman who is exclusively breastfeeding her child, because the first thing to do when the child is born is to wash the child and there he is given water directly. Even if the mother wanted to do exclusive breastfeeding, if she leaves her child for one minute with her relatives, they will give him water. If the child cries, people will automatically give water. In our region, it’s rare to have access to safe drinking water. This why our children get sick most of the time. »

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Haoua Mahamat, 25 years old, 3 children and her son Hassan, 14 months old

Haoua Mahamat is a young and cheerful mother who attended the meeting this morning. « With my first daughter I did exclusive breastfeeding because I was living in the capital, N’Djamena with my first husband’s family and it was them who advised me to follow this practice. Since then we got divorced and I came back to leave with my family here. I remarried and I had 2 other children for which I did not do exclusive breastfeeding. » Her son Hassan, 14 months old, was suffering from severe acute malnutrition and treated in this UNICEF-supported health center.

Haoua had to stop exclusive breastfeeding because of traditional beliefs and family pressure. « People here think that if a child gets sick it is because the breast milk is bad quality. If you see a drop of white milk at the end of the nipple, it means that the milk is good but if the drop is clear like water it means that the milk is bad. »

Halime Mahamat has a very clear idea of the advantage of maternal milk « Breast milk is the best medicine you can give to a baby; it is a blessing for both of us. Many women refuse to breastfeed their babies because they think their milk is not good. In my family, we use to pour some maternal milk in a cup and throw an ant in it. If the ant does not survive, people say that the milk is poisoned and the woman had to stop breastfeeding. For me, breastfeeding is the best way to keep my baby healthy. »

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During the early years of a child, almost 1000 brain cells connect every second – a pace never matched again. When we nourish a child’s body with the proper nutrition, we are also feeding the young brain and facilitating those neural connections.

Exclusive breastfeeding and good nutrition are vital for a baby’s health and welfare. In Chad, more than half of the country’s adults (56.4 per cent) have suffered as a result of childhood stunting. This means that more than 3.4 million people of working age are unable to reach their full potential due to childhood undernutrition.



For Every Child in need, relief

40 000 children have received treatment for malnutrition in the Sahel belt of Chad thanks to UNICEF UK support

« I did not know what to do when Amir got sick. A neighbour gave me a traditional medicine made of ash and roots, but I called my husband and he told me to go to the health centre directly. I was right to trust the doctors, he’s much better now.” Salma Safia, Amir’s mother, is 17 and lives in the remote village of Andour, in the Sahel Belt of Chad.

“His father left a few months ago. They say there is gold up north so he went there and is working in mines. Since then, life has become difficult for us. When Amir got sick we went to the health centre nearby and they took us straightaway to the hospital with an ambulance. He could not sit, eat or sleep when we arrived here. It’s been only two days, but he’s feeling much better already,  » she says, smiling.

Thanks to the support of the United Kingdom UNICEF National Committee, UNICEF has provided life-saving assistance to affected children and strengthened the capacity of health facilities to deliver quality nutrition services. The provision of Ready to Use Therapeutic Food has also contributed to reduce malnutrition-related mortality and morbidity in children under five years of age.

Refugees in the East have also been reached

For Every Child in Hunger . 40 000 children treated for malnutrition in the Sahel belt of Chad thanks to UNICEF UK support

Zouha Issa, 7, and her sister Amina, 17 months, were born from Sudanese refugees parents living in the Mile Refugee camp in Eastern Chad where 382,500 refugees are still living in harsh conditions. Recently, Zouhas’s sister, Amina, was treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition with Medical complications. She’s now feeling better and Zouha can play with her sister again.

“When Amina got sick, the doctor of the health centre called an ambulance to take us to the hospital. It was the first time I was in a car. Unfortunately, the car got stuck in the water – it was the rainy season. It took us one day to get to the hospital,” Zouha explains.

“After a few days, she started feeling better. They gave her many medicines and milk. She took some weight and she stopped crying all the time. Now we’re back home, we have breakfast together and I can play with her again,” she concludes.

Thanks to the UK National Committee contribution of US$ 135,533.63 and additional resources mobilized, UNICEF Chad has been able to provide the much needed support to the Ministry of Health to scale up the management of severe acute malnutrition. Additionally, this support made it possible to purchase and distribution of over 1,900 cartons of Ready-to-use-therapeutic food which have helped to provide timely and quality treatment to children suffering from SAM.

Over 43,557 children have been treated in the target regions of Ouaddaï, Wadi Fira and Hadjer Lamis in 2016. Furthermore, 31 health professionals were trained on management of SAM while more than 50,000 mothers and caregivers benefited from the community mobilization and sensitization campaigns.


57 millions de dollars d’aide d’urgence nécessaires pour 2,7 millions d’enfants en situation humanitaire au Tchad

La malnutrition constitue une « menace silencieuse » pour les enfants, d’après l’appel de l’UNICEF pour l’année 2017

NEW YORK/N’DJAMENA, le 01 février 2017 – En 2017, 4,7 millions de Tchadiens auront besoin d’une assistance humanitaire en réponse aux multiples crises que connaît le pays. L’insécurité alimentaire continuera d’affecter 4,3 millions de personnes, dont 558 450 enfants de moins de 5 ans souffrant de malnutrition aiguë globale.

En 2017, l’UNICEF a besoin de 57 millions de dollars américains pour répondre aux multiples besoins humanitaires des enfants au Tchad. « Sans ce financement, l’UNICEF ne sera pas en mesure d’appuyer la réponse nationale à la crise alimentaire continue du pays, ainsi que des services de base essentiels tels que la protection de l’enfance, l’éducation, la santé et l’accès à l’eau et à l’assainissement » a déclaré Philippe Barragne-Bigot, Représentant de l’UNICEF au Tchad.

Dans sa publication L’action humanitaire pour les enfants, l’UNICEF présente son appel mondial pour 2017, qui s’élève à 3,3 milliards de dollars des É.-U., ainsi que ses objectifs consistant à garantir aux enfants l’accès à l’eau salubre, la nutrition, l’éducation, la santé et la protection, dans les contextes d’urgence dans 48 pays du monde.

Dans le monde, près d’un enfant sur quatre vit dans un pays touché par un conflit ou une catastrophe. « Dans beaucoup de pays, la guerre, les catastrophes naturelles et les changements climatiques contraignent de plus en plus les enfants à fuir de chez eux. Ils se retrouvent alors exposés à la violence, aux maladies et à l’exploitation », affirme Manuel Fontaine, Directeur des programmes d’urgence de l’UNICEF.

Au Tchad, la situation financière difficile du pays a entravé la capacité du gouvernement à fournir des services de base et à participer au relèvement précoce. De nouveaux efforts seront déployés par l’UNICEF au Tchad pour renforcer le lien entre les interventions humanitaires et les programmes de développement afin d’appuyer le Gouvernement en matière de préparation aux situations d’urgence.

«L’UNICEF continuera de fournir une assistance vitale aux enfants, pour que les populations touchées par les situations d’urgence aient un meilleur accès à l’eau, à l’assainissement et aux services de santé d’urgence. L’UNICEF favorisera également l’accès à l’éducation, au soutien psychosocial et aux services de protection pour les enfants touchés par les conflits » a conclu M. Barragne-Bigot.

Les priorités de l’UNICEF au Tchad et de ses partenaires pour répondre aux besoins d’urgence en 2017 consistent à :

  • Garantir à plus de 268 000 personnes un accès à l’eau salubre.
  • Garantir l’accès de plus de 43 500 enfants a un enseignement élémentaire formel ou non formel.
  • Vacciner au moins 377 000 enfants contre la rougeole.
  • Apporter un appui psychosocial à plus de 13 000 enfants.
  • Traiter au moins 200 000 enfants contre la malnutrition aiguë sévère.

Entre janvier et octobre 2016, grâce au soutien de l’UNICEF au Tchad:

  • 75 300 personnes en situation d’urgence ont pu accéder à l’eau salubre.
  • 352 800 enfants ont été vaccinés contre la rougeole en urgence.
  • 61 500 enfants déplacés et enfants d’accueil dans les zones de déplacement ont reçu une éducation de qualité.
  • 153 300 enfants ont été traités contre la malnutrition aiguë sévère.
  • 124 500 enfants affectées par des crises ont reçu un supplément de vitamine A.


L’appel au titre de l’action humanitaire pour les enfants en 2017 est disponible ici :

Des vidéos et des photos peuvent être téléchargées ici :

À propos de l’UNICEF

L’UNICEF promeut les droits et le bien-être de chaque enfant, dans tout ce que nous faisons. Nous travaillons dans 190 pays et territoires du monde entier avec nos partenaires pour faire de cet engagement une réalité, avec un effort particulier pour atteindre les enfants les plus vulnérables et marginalisés, dans l’intérêt de tous les enfants, où qu’ils soient.

Pour plus d’informations sur l’UNICEF et son travail pour les enfants :

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Pour plus d’informations ou pour des demandes d’entretien, veuillez contacter :

Christopher Tidey, UNICEF New York, tél. : +1 917 340 3017,

Joe English, UNICEF New York, tél. : +1 917 893 0692,

Maria Fernandez, UNICEF Tchad, tél,: +235 66 36 00 42,