Récolter le Dividende Démographique

Malngaye Adam se repose en cette chaude après-midi sur à l’ombre de sa maison de paille à Tagal, un village parmi d’autres sur les rives du lac Tchad. « La vie est devenue très difficile », dit-il, accopagnée de sa femme et de ses 10 enfants.

Le Tchad a le quatrième taux de fécondité au monde. Avec une moyenne de près de sept enfants par femme, le pays ne récolte pas encore les fruits de ce qu’on appelle la «transition démographique». En théorie, l’amélioration de la santé et du développement réduit les décès précoces et fait chuter les taux de natalité.

La population du Tchad, cependant, est d’environ 13 millions et croît à 3.5 pour cent par an, avec les deux-tiers de ses habitants âgés de moins de 25 ans. Ashta Mohammed, âgée de 22 ans, affirme avoir été forcée par ses parents à se marier à 14 ans et a eu le premier de ses quatre enfants très rapidement. «J’ai beaucoup souffert», se rappelle-t-elle de la naissance, disant qu’elle voudrait maintenant faire une pause de trois ans.

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Au Tchad, l’offre et la demande de contraceptifs modernes sont parmi les plus bas au monde, les dernières enquêtes suggérant qu’elles sont utilisées par moins de 5 pour cent des femmes au Tchad.

Bakary Sogoba, responsable de la protection de l’enfance pour l’Unicef au Tchad : «Au Tchad, les gens pensent que les filles sont des femmes dès qu’elles atteignent l’âge de la reproduction. Et là où il y a de la polygamie, vous pouvez avoir une reproduction concurrentielle entre plusieurs femmes qui comptent avoir plus d’enfants que leurs rivales ».

«Il y a des progrès, mais ce n’est pas suffisant», affirme Assane Ngueadoum, ministre de la santé publique du Tchad, père de deux enfants. « Nous avons besoin de meilleurs outils pour la planification familiale et une plus grande prise de conscience pour faire face aux traditions qui nous empêche de bénéficier du dividende démographique. »

En visitant une clinique privée qui offre les services de planning familial à N’Djamena, nous rencontrons Josephine Nangtan, une assistante psychosociale qui rencontre de nombreux défis au quotidien. «Beaucoup de femmes viennent me demander des conseils sur la contraception. Certaines me demandent de garder leur dossier ici, car si leur mari le voit, cela pourrait être une source de conflit», dit-elle.

Les attitudes commencent à changer. Les dirigeants de l’Église protestante soutiennent la contraception – non pas pour limiter la taille de la famille, mais pour souligner le besoin d’un nombre «responsable» d’enfants en bonne santé, en commençant plus tard et en espaçant les naissances.

L’Église catholique prend une ligne semblable. Il en est de même des dirigeants musulmans. Le cheikh Abdaddayim Ousman, secrétaire général du Conseil Supérieur des Affaires Islamiques, a déclaré: «Le prophète nous a dit de nous marier et d’avoir une famille de qualité et non de quantité.  »

Avec l’appui du Fonds Français Muskoka, l’UNICEF, l’UNFPA et l’OMS au Tchad soutiennent les efforts du Gouvernement afin d’augmenter l’exposition de la population, les personnes et les couples à une information éclairée sur la planification familiale et sur les questions de genre.

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A shot to live: Meningitis immunization in Chad

N’DJAMENA, February 27, 2017. Ahmad’s father smiles sadly while he tries to make his little boy stand still so that the nurse can give him a dose of trivalent meningitis vaccine.

“My son is afraid of the needle, but he will realize in a minute that it is nothing,” he says. ”I lost my younger sister two weeks ago. By no means do I want my son to suffer as she did.”

In 2011, a new meningitis outbreak was declared in Chad. In response the introduction of the new vaccine MenAfriVac, managed to dramatically reduce the impact of this terrible disease, saving many children lives.

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With the support of GAVI Alliance, the organization of four immunization phases covering the entire country resulted in the vaccination of 8,686,026 individuals. Since December 2012, there have been no cases of meningitis type A reported nationwide.

Toma Mamout, a community outreach volunteer, speaks to mothers about the importance of the meningitis vaccine. In nearby villages, she talks on vaccinations, basic hygiene and the use of mosquito nets to prevent malaria. “We advise mothers to bring their children to every vaccination drive and to stick to the calendar,” she says.

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Sensitization campaigns were organized at the community level to raise awareness about immunization activities and its importance to the population. As the vaccination campaign continued, social mobilization activities were conducted to inform the population about immunization and the risks of meningitis transmission. Local radio stations, social centres and religious and community leaders have been also engaged in outreach activities.

Radio is also essential to these efforts, reaching far more people than any other media in Chad. “Broadcasts and advertisements get people ready for the vaccination campaigns. Families quickly understand the need to vaccinate their children,” mentions Editor in Chief of the community radio station in Mongo Djimet Khamis Zaouri.

 

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Meningococcal meningitis is an inflammation of the protective membranes covering the central nervous system. While some forms are mild, it is a potentially serious condition owing to the proximity of the inflammation to the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis can lead to brain damage, deafness or death if untreated.

Vaccination is an effective, low-cost public health intervention that significantly reduces infant mortality. Nevertheless, in Chad, the percentage of children fully immunized during their first year of life is estimated at 25%.

UNICEF’s future efforts will focus on surveillance, evaluation and promotion of immunization efforts, continue support for the ongoing preparation of the introduction of Meningitis vaccine in routine immunization in 2017, of thus providing critical continued support to the fight against meningitis

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Rewriting the future for every child in danger

The support of the Swedish Development Agency is essential to provide humanitarian assistance to children living in conflict zones in Chad.

N’Djamena, February 25, 2017. “We are nomads. We were living outside Malam Fatori in Niger when our camp was attacked. 18 people got killed. The gunshots woke me up, it was early in the morning and people start running away. I took a camel and ran away watching behind. My father told me to start screaming if I saw any danger.”  Tahar Mohamed, 8, is a Chadian returnee from Niger. He recalls the night he fled Boko Haram attack on his nomadic camp.

The first night I slept on a tree, I was too scared. After some days, I was too tired and hungry to walk, especially with these slippers. We could not take any food or items. My mother could only take a cooking pot with her. After three days walking, we arrived in a village and she sold it in exchange of some cooked rice. That’s the only time we had something to eat”.

Tahar Mohamed, 8 is now living in Darnaim Returnee site where he can access safe drinking water and education for the first time in his life. “I want to be a football player. I’m still young and I play very well. I want to play for Chad’s National team. The problem is that there is no football training centre in Chad,” he explains.

Swedish Development Aid Agency has supported UNICF Chad with a 652 000 000 grant (6,000,000 Swedish Krona) that was mainly used for programme support enabling our teams to assist these children and families in need. The funds provided by SIDA where alloca

For Hafsa Haroun, 16, life has not been easy either. She used to live in Baga, Nigeria, before the village was torched by Boko Haram. “I had a normal life. I would go to school the morning and help out at home in the afternoon. The day of the attack, my mother got killed. I did not see it but my brother told me she got shot. My uncle was also injured. He almost lost his left leg. He suffered a lot, but he is strong,” he states, while describing what happened after the attack. “People around him cried a lot, but we were just silent. In my family everyone left separately, we were just trying to save our lives and we could not stay altogether. It took us more than a month to get back together at the camp in Chad”.

Today, Hafsa goes back to school in Daresalam refugee camp in Chad and she has great ambitions for her future. “I want to become a nurse. I’m not afraid of needles or blood. I just need some training, I don’t think it’s that complicated to find work, there will always be sick people to heal,” she says with hope.

In 2016, UNICEF worked tirelessly to provide an integrated and comprehensive response to recurrent and multiple humanitarian crises. UNICEF and its partners delivered humanitarian assistance through local authorities, communities and organizations to provide aid in hard-to-reach areas while also building local capacity to respond to emergencies.

The Swedish Development Aid Agency has supported UNICEF Chad with a US$ 652 000 000 grant (6,000,000 Swedish Krona) for Programme Support under the Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC 2016). This funding enabled our teams to assist these children and families in need in regards to Chad humanitarian response.

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Le blog officiel de l'UNICEF Tchad