Hunger in Chad

Hunger in Chad is a huge issue – so huge that in 2016, the country had the second-highest Global Hunger Index, after the Central African Republic. Relative to the strides the world has taken to lower GHI levels, the hunger in Chad is all too prevalent and must be addressed – here are some things you should know:

    1. Chad is an arid, low-income and landlocked country in Central Africa with a population of nearly 15 million. Of this predominantly rural population, 87% is surviving on US $1.25.
    2. One in three people in Chad are undernourished, and nearly 40% of children under 5 are therefore stunted in their growth.
    3. Hunger in Chad is largely due to various conflicts during its 40 years of independence, mainly consisting of tensions between ethnic groups in the north and south.

  1. Poverty and food insecurity prevent people from getting an education, leaving Chad with an average literacy rate of less than half of the population.
  2. In 2015, more than 2.4 million rural Chadians have become food insecure, of which 428,000 people are classified as severely food insecure.
  3. Both the country’s landlocked location and its desert climate contribute to chronic food deficits and inhibit economic development.
  4. The maternal mortality rate, while improving, remains high at 980 deaths per 100,000 live births.
  5. Nearly 500,000 refugees and internally displaced persons reside in Chad because of ongoing violence in the region, mainly from Sudan, Central African Republic and Nigeria.
  6. The Office of Food for Peace (FFP) partnered with the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) and the U.N. Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance to vulnerable, food-insecure Chadians and refugees from CAR, Nigeria and Sudan, providing over US $56 million dollars in 2016 alone.
  7. UNICEF provides ready-to-use therapeutic food to treat children with severe acute malnutrition.

Hunger in Chad is one of the biggest problems today, especially in the effort of reaching the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal 2: to “end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.” Though the malnutrition and poverty are dire, much is being done to help those in need and help lift the region out of its slump.

Mayan Derhy

Photo: Flickr

Top Diseases in Chad
Since its independence from the French in 1960, the northern Central African nation of Chad has faced political instability in addition to harsh desert climates in the north. Due to complex political and environmental situations, Chad is ranked 185 out of 187 countries on the 2014 UNDP Human Development Index.

Health resources in Chad are low as a result of its poverty and politics, compared to the rest of Africa. Chad has a large refugee population of over 380,000 and 80 percent are Sudanese. With a deficit of proper resources and infrastructure to combat communicable diseases, here is a list of the top diseases in Chad.


Hepatitis is an infection in the liver and is identified through five different hepatitis viruses. Chad is at risk for hepatitis A, B, C and E. Hepatitis A and E are spread by contaminated food or water and human waste. Chad’s hepatitis A and E risk is correlated with its sanitation and water practices. About 44% of Chad’s population does not have access to clean water.

While hepatitis A and E are endemic because of contaminated food or water, hepatitis B and C are spread through blood, semen and other bodily fluids. Hepatitis is resolved after four weeks of medical treatment.

Vaccines are recommended for children, as hepatitis can develop without symptoms during childhood. Vaccines for hepatitis B are more prioritized since it’s transmitted from person to person. In 2015, WHO-UNICEF estimated only 55% of people were vaccinated for hepatitis B, compared to the government’s estimate of 925.

Some solutions to solve hepatitis include more coverage of hepatitis B vaccines to prevent people from infecting others. Improving water conditions and sanitation would eliminate hepatitis A and E.

Meningococcal Meningitis

Meningococcal meningitis is a bacterial form of meningitis and infects the meninges in the brain membrane. The potentially fatal disease can cause brain damage and deafness. Outbreaks are prevalent during the dry season in the Sub-Saharan meningitis belt.

The Sub-Saharan meningitis belt is a wide region of countries with a high risk of the disease, stretching from Senegal in the west to Ethiopia in the east. During the 2012 outbreak, there were 2,828 cases of meningitis in Chad and 135 deaths.

There are many campaigns supporting meningitis vaccine coverage in the belt. In 2014, meningitis epidemics reached their lowest levels. After Chad’s campaign, meningitis cases dropped by 94%.


Typhoid is a gastrointestinal infection transmitted from one infected person with poor hygiene to another person when handling food and water. The bacteria can multiply and enter the bloodstream and cause high fevers and fatigue. Typhoid is common in countries that have poor water and improper sanitation. Typhoid vaccines are highly recommended for travelers visiting Chad.


Chad has a very high risk of malaria, with a greater incidence rate of over 85% of plasmodium falciparum malaria. Because of the high amount of malaria cases, Chad is receiving help for malaria prevention.

While progress for adopting preventative therapy for children is slow among WHO member states, Chad is the only country that adopted the recommended policy for infants.

There still is a lot of progress needed for top diseases in Chad to be completely combated against and its health resources to be improved. However, solutions are available to prevent most of these top diseases in Chad.

Taameen Mohammad

Photo: Flickr

Poverty in Chad
Through its history, the African country of Chad has fallen victim to instability, corruption and devastating climatic variation.

Since the country gained its independence from France in 1960, it has struggled with controversial elections and an allegedly corrupt president, Idriss Denby Itno. Tensions between religious groups and ethnic factions have furthered instability despite several peace agreements that have been reached.

Equally as damaging as Chad’s instability is its unpredictable climate. The country relies heavily on oil and agricultural exports, yet soil erosion, drought and plague locust can destroy crops and make it impossible to collect oil and other natural resources.

Factors like political and social instability, as well as an unforgiving climate, make poverty in Chad very real and very challenging to fight.

According to the World Bank over 45 percent of Chad’s population lives at or below the national poverty line. The poverty line is the amount of income needed to afford the necessities of life like food, water and shelter. Living at or below a poverty line can put immense pressure on people and often causes children to miss school. Unfortunately, uneducated communities often lack the skills and knowledge to help lift themselves out of poverty and in turn become even more impoverished.

Exemplifying what can come with living under the national poverty line is Chad’s slum population. As of 2014, nearly 90 percent of the Chadian population resided in slum housing. A slum is defined as housing that lacks access to clean water, sanitation, proper living space or structural durability. These living conditions can lead to higher rates of illness and crime within the community.

Overall, poverty in Chad has a devastating effect on the country. By looking at how long a country’s population lives, how educated they are and what standards of living they endure, one can determine how developed the country is. Every year the U.N. collects this data to look at each country’s development progress. The result is  the Human Development Index (HDI) which uses life expectancy, an education index and Gross National Income as key dimensions of human development.

In 2015, the U.N. ranked Chad 185 out of 188 countries measured in terms of HDI. This low score means that on average, Chad is not only less developed than most other countries, but it’s people live shorter lives, are undereducated and are relatively unproductive in terms of GNI.

This statistic is undoubtedly linked with high rates of poverty in Chad. And, though investments in Chad are risky, there are organizations reaching out to Chad.

One organization, Aid for Africa empowers especially vulnerable populations like women and children in hopes that they may one day escape poverty. This is done through community-based self-help programs, education programs, business help and ecological protection.

Weston Northrop

Photo: Flickr

The Growing Need to Reduce Chronic Hunger in Chad
Chad is a country located in Africa where there is a growing need to reduce chronic hunger.

Here are some facts outlining the severity of hunger in Chad:

  • 87 percent of Chad’s rural population lives below the poverty line.
  • More than 2.4 million rural Chadians are food insecure.
  • Of the 2.4 million food insecure rural Chadians, 428,000 are classified as severely. food insecure.
  • 11.7 percent of children under the age of five are stunted due to chronic malnutrition.

Hunger in Chad is exacerbated by the country’s geographical location, climate, susceptibility to political instability and vulnerability to natural disasters.

Action Against Hunger is looking to reduce the effects of hunger by improving agricultural production, jumpstarting local business markets and enhancing access to sustainable sources of income and food in Chad. In 2015, the foundation helped 413,325 Chadians receive nutritional support.

Similarly, the World Food Programme (WFP) is working to eliminate hunger in Chad with four different operations:

  1. Development operations look to help the hungry feed themselves.
  2. Emergency operations help provide food for the impoverished while improving nutrition.
  3. Relief and recovery operations assist in stabilizing food security after emergencies.
  4. Special operations help to create specific logistics and infrastructure work to improve the movement of food aid.

Specifically, the WFP looks to provide 120,000 meals in prioritized areas where chronic hunger is prevalent. In addition, 15,000 meals are being provided to the Lake Chad region.

Chad’s chronic hunger situation continues to improve with the help of foundations like Action Against Hunger and the World Food Programme. There are some factors that these foundations cannot affect (like climate and geography), but the programs are doing all they can to make sure the country of Chad is in the best position possible in order to succeed.

Casey Marx

Photo: Flickr

Located in Central Africa, Chad is ranked near the bottom of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Human Development Index, 184th out of the 187 countries studied. Heavily affected by internal conflict and economic strife, Chad’s fragile government has experienced incredible difficulty in increasing access to primary education.

Due to severe economic disparities, there are a number of problems in Chad’s education sector, particularly in a lack of adequate supplies and tools necessary to create a functioning school environment. Many of the existing schools are simply structured, overcrowded with students, and understaffed, also lacking desks, chairs, or textbooks.

In 2012, the United Nation’s Human Development Reports revealed that only 62 percent of primary school educators in Chad were even qualified to teach. Additionally, the youth literacy rate for boys, ages 15-24, was 53.6 percent in 2012, while girls lagged behind with a literacy rate of only 42.2 percent. However, these numbers are an improvement from the past decade.

Chad’s government recently teamed up with an existing triple partnership between the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), and Educate a Child (EAC), with the intention of ameliorating its education problem.

The plan for development involves two main components: restoring and improving the physical learning environment, and increasing the quality of instruction through providing necessary materials (textbooks, blackboards, desks, etc.).

EAC’s website states, “The Revitalizing Basic Education in Chad project works in targeted primary schools in the regions of Guéra, Ouadai, Sila and Logone Occidental, to supports the Government of Chad’s efforts to increase primary school completion rates from 37 percent in 2011 to 80 percent in 2020.”

GPE alone has donated $47.2 million to aid the project, providing ample funds to revamp schools across the country.

With the combined effort of these three organizations, 246,500 children will be able to enroll in and complete a quality primary education.

According to GPE, “Chad’s education sector has progressed slightly in recent years. The percentage of out-of-school children decreased from 43 percent in 2002 to 36 percent in 2011. The primary completion rate increased from 30 percent in 2006 to 35% in 2012. In terms of gender parity, 62 girls finished primary school for every 100 boys in 2012, improving slightly from 53 girls for every 100 boys in 2006.”

Not only is this partnership working in Chad, but also Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Yemen, where it is getting 2.5 million children a quality education. If Chad’s current success is magnified, the lives of hundreds of thousands of children will be changed for the better.

– Hanna Darroll

Sources: UNICEF 1, UNICEF 2, Global Partnership for Education, Educate a Child
Photo: Relief Web

With the second highest maternal mortality rates, Chad falls drastically behind the fifth United Nation Millennium Development Goal in diminishing the mortality ratio by three quarters. There are approximately 1,100 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births, illustrating a dire need for solutions.

The nature of the problem varies, with deaths ranging from hemorrhage, HIV/AIDS, limited access to health care and obstructive labor. There is also a high Total Fertility Rate in Chad, with women averaging about 5 children.

Many disparities exist between Chadian women who live in urban and rural areas, where the latter averages a much higher TFR. This is partially due to the lack of access to antenatal care as well as limited availability of contraceptives.

Similar to many other patriarchal societies, men play a big role in hindering women from receiving family planning services, consequently endangering their spouse.

High maternal mortality rates pose serious social and economic repercussions for Chadians, further sinking affected families in poverty and decreasing the nation’s economic growth.

A mother is the foundation of a family and research has shown that when a mother passes, there is a greater likelihood for a child to drop out of school, in addition to becoming malnourished.

To address the problem at hand, the Chadian government should focus on increasing access to health facilities, strengthening family planning services and educating young mothers on proper antenatal care. Establishing clinics with trained health professionals  increases the rate of women with medical supervision during childbirth.

Chad has witnessed inadequate human resources for health; thus, more midwives and physicians are in need of proper training. In addition, 20 percent of women have an unmet need for contraceptives, indicating that family size is out of their control.

Better access to family planning allows births to be spaced out and reduces unwanted pregnancy. Furthermore, education is key in developing countries. Teaching Chadian women about reproductive health will ensure that women are making choices that are best for their bodies and will give them a sense of empowerment.

– Leeda Jewayni

Sources: CIA, Safer Birth in Chad, World Bank
Photo: The Guardian

Guinea Worm
There were only 148 cases of Guinea Worm infestations reported worldwide last year, which is a leap forward compared to the 3.5 million cases less than two decades ago. This disease is known to many as “dracunculiasis” which means, “affliction with little dragons,” due to the pain the worm causes on the skin. Hope remains for the few countries left on the Guinea worm-endemic list as complete eradication of the parasite may come at a faster rate than that of the polio virus.

The number of countries on the Guinea worm endemic list dropped from 21 to four. Ethiopia, Chad, Mali and South Sudan remain on the list, but there are now less than 200 cases compared to the millions that reported in 1986. South Sudan currently has the highest number of cases due to a resurgence that occurred last month when health workers were removed from the main eradication center due to fighting in the villages.

People acquire the worm by drinking contaminated water. When individuals drink the contaminated water, the pathogen enters the body where it remains for almost a month. During this time it matures into a worm that can grow up to 3 feet long. When it is ready, the Guinea worm exits from a blister on the individual’s skin inch by inch.  In most cases, the exiting worm has contact with water, where it releases its larvae and the pathogen is able to spread to several people if they continue to drink from these shallow ponds. This microscopic parasite usually appears in isolated villages marked by these shallow water ponds.

Family economies also suffer as victims are unable to work or farm. The process is painful and as it emerges it cripples a person for several weeks. Young children who acquire the worm also miss school for several weeks.

Wiping out the Guinea worm has been quite the obstacle since there is no vaccine or medicine against the parasite.  Health advocates usually visit various villages to educate families about the dangers of drinking contaminated water. They also explain how the water becomes contaminated when villagers place their infected limbs in shallow water ponds.

So far efforts to eliminate the Guinea Worm have cost around $350 million since 1986. This amount has almost solved the problem, while fighting off polio will cost upwards of $5.5 billion. Health workers note that eradication efforts are low-tech but can be easily implemented since the only strategy is to drink clean water and keep infections monitored. Officials from the Carter Center, the main operation center against Guinea Worm cases, are confident about eliminating the parasite if they continue their same efficient methods.

Maybelline Martez

Sources: NY Times, NPR, Guinea Worms, NPR, Slaying Dragons
Photo: TrialX

old woman_opt
5. Afghanistan (50.11 years)

For the Afghani people, the prospect of living a long life has been a luxury afforded to very few. On the heels centuries of war, internal strife, and natural disasters, Afghanistan has faced many humanitarian crises. Due to its continued state of insecurity, true development has been perpetually stunted. As reported by UNICEF, Afghanistan currently possesses “450,000 internally displaced persons, 5.7 million refugees and at least 250,000 people affected by natural hazards or disasters every year.” With 43% of houses lacking improved water sources, soaring rates of child malnutrition, and severely lacking sanitation and immunization practices, the cumulative effect is a shortened lifespan.

4. Swaziland (50.01 years)

This 6,704 sq mile country of Swaziland is bordered by South Africa and Mozambique. Due to HIV/AIDS, Swaziland has seen its average life expectancy actually drop over the passed 10 years. According to UNICEF, “Two-thirds of Swazis live in poverty, most of them in rural areas. Nearly 40% are HIV-positive, giving Swaziland the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world.” With 27% living under the minimum level of dietary energy consumption and 50% lacking adequate iodized salt requirements, the basic health of the citizenry continues to be a source of humanitarian concern.

3. Guinea-Bissau (49.50 years)

Similar to other sub-Saharan countries, Guinea-Bissau faces many health issues. Unlike Swaziland and South Africa, however, Guinea-Bissau only faces a 1.8% HIV/AIDS infection rate. The major health concern, however, is malaria. Without adequate supplies of mosquito nets and medication, the disease has proven to be increasingly deadly. Contributing to this issue, Guinea-Bissau has seen a major drop-off in medical personnel. With approximately only five doctors per 100,000 persons, getting medical attention is a luxury very few are afforded.

2. South Africa (49.48 years)

It may come as a surprise to many that South Africa holds such a high place on this list, as it developed rapidly since the end of apartheid in 1994. However, South Africa still faces a continuing humanitarian crisis. For South Africa, the main concerns are disease rather than hunger. For travelers visiting the country, the Center for Disease Control recommends the following immunizations: measles-mumps-rubella, diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus, chickenpox, flu shot, hepatitis A, typhoid, hepatitis B, malaria, and rabies. In addition,. According to the South African Government, the total number of persons living with HIV in South Africa increased from an estimated 4.21 million in 2001 to 5.38 million by 2011. An estimated 10.6% of the total population is HIV positive  and 17.30% of adults between the ages of 15 and 49 are infected.

1. Chad (49.07 years)

Topping off this list, according to 2013 estimates, Chad has the lowest life expectancy rate of the 223 nations surveyed. Among the issues facing Chad, concerns are only exacerbated by the massive refugee influx from neighboring Sudan. According to UN statistics, “In 2012 Chad hosted some 288,700 refugees from Sudan, 56,700 from the Central African Republic (CAR), 90,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 91,000 returned IDPs and 550 urban refugees and asylum-seekers.” With an estimated 2 million facing crippling malnutrition due to a volatile climate, compounded by poor health conditions in refugee camps, the overall health of Chad remains a dire humanitarian crisis.

– Thomas van der List

Sources: UNICEF, WHO, CDC, Statistics South Africa, UNHCR
Photo: The Guardian

Hissene Habre
DAKAR, Senegal — According to reports, Chad’s former dictator — Hissène Habré — was arrested in Dakar, Senegal, on June 30. His presidency between 1982 and 1990 was marked by corruption and mistreatment of Chad’s citizens, and the Human Rights Watch called his detainment “a milestone” in the effort to bring justice for his victims and their families.

While Chad’s economy is severely stunted by both its land-locked location in Central Africa and the fact that the vast majority of its land is unusable for subsistence agriculture, the humanitarian crises caused and perpetuated by political turmoil have done their fair share of classifying the country as a “failed state,” according to the Fund for Peace Failed State Index. Habré was responsible for an estimated 40,000 deaths during his reign. When Habré was deposed by Idriss Déby in 1990, he went into self-imposed exile in Senegal after emptying the national treasury.

Despite mountains of evidence that were brought against Habré in the ensuing years, the government of Senegal did not pursue action against him. In February, 2000, he was arrested and indicted in Senegal, but upon the election of Senegal’s president Abdoulaye Wade that same year, the case was dismissed.

Further attempts of the victims to have Habré extradited to Belgium were stalled, after which Belgium filed a case against Senegal in the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Senegal President Wade was voted out of office in favor of Macky Sall last year, shortly before the ICJ ruled that Senegal must prosecute or extradite Habré.

Chadian President Déby’s government is still populated by many of Habré’s former allies. The effort to bring these cases against Habré was hindered by fear of the Déby administration after 1990, which absorbed many of Habré’s DDS — Directorate of Documentation and Security — agents and practices. Senegal’s choice to detain Habré is a step forward, not only in light of the ICJ ruling but also as an affirmation of justice and source of closure for victims of the ex-dictator’s administration.

– Naomi Doraisamy

Source: AllAfrica, Fund For Peace, Human Rights Watch, New York Times, Rural Poverty Portal, USIP
Photo: SeneNews

poverty in chad
Poverty in Chad? Surprisingly for an oil-producing nation, Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world. After gaining its independence from France, Chad struggled to find its footing. Mismanagement, corruption, conflict and a harsh climate did the country no favors, and Chad has consistently remained one of the poorest countries in Africa.

Over half of Chad’s population lives in poverty; this is partly a result of the harsh geographical conditions. The majority of Chad is covered by desert and for a developing country that depends largely on subsistence farming, this presents a significant challenge. The most successful practice is migratory farming, where herds can move and adapt to changing climate conditions, but even these are severely limited by resources. As well, droughts in the 1970s and 80s aggravated already sub-optimal conditions. Recently, changes in climate have brought lower rainfalls and consistent overuse has led to soil erosion and land degradation. Farmers lack infrastructure, support and resources needed to grow sufficient food.

Geographic isolation, a lack of cultural cohesion and lack of education are all contributors to the problem. Spread out among a huge amount of land, Chad’s citizens are separated by large swaths of land, making it difficult to distribute necessary resources. Most people do not speak either of the country’s official languages (Arabic and French) and 90% of the country is illiterate.

Gender discrimination is also rife in Chad, though women are an essential part of a family’s survival. They are given work outside the home as well as the responsibility of raising a family, tending farms, gathering water, raising children and cooking. Yet they are culturally limited from access to education or training, and marginalized by society. These women are especially vulnerable to the psychological as well as physical effects of poverty.

Chad’s reality is brutal; a large percentage of the population is undernourished and lacks access to education, as well as high levels of food insecurity and infant mortality. Chad is not set to meet the MDGs as a result of poor management and weak planning and implementation.

Chad’s story is not a pretty one, but an important one. It is a reminder of the harsh reality that is daily life in Sub-Saharan Africa, and the amount of work that remains to be done in the region.

– Farahnaz Mohammed

Source: Rural Poverty Portal, World Bank
Photo: Charity in Chad