Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world and has the lowest life expectancy of all countries. In 2017, the life expectancy for a Chadian citizen was found to be only 50.6 years. For comparison, Monaco is the country with the highest life expectancy, and citizens of this country live, on average, almost 40 years longer. This is a scary and stark contrast that can be attributed largely to the instability and poverty that people of Chad continuously face.
Chad in Numbers
In 1960, The Republic of Chad attained its independence from France and has faced much hardship since. The country has felt the recurring impact of civil war, religious war and natural disasters. For these reasons, the country has been unable to maximize its rich gold, uranium and oil resources.
Food and water are extremely scarce resources in the country as only 4 percent of Chadians living in rural areas have access to clean water. This makes them very susceptible to dangerous water-borne diseases including diarrhea and cholera. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that medical resources are also extremely scarce. For every 38,000 inhabitants of the country, there is only one doctor .
Close to 63 percent of Chadians are living in poverty, and only 32 percent of the population is literate. This is related to the fact that 80 percent of the population depends on subsistence farming and livestock. With a lack of educational resources, the Chadian people are forced to rely on their agricultural skills to maintain a livelihood. This is problematic for a country that has faced repeated natural disasters.
These are just some of the many statistics that point to the dire living conditions that contribute to the country’s extremely low life expectancy. There are, however, a number of efforts being undertaken to ameliorate the situation.
Actions Being Taken
In February 2018, after visiting several African countries including Chad, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator of the United Nations, Ursula Mueller, brought attention to the dire need for greater relief efforts in Chad.
Groups like the Chad Relief Foundation (CRF) have been responsive to such calls for a number of years now. CRF provides assistance to refugees in Chad and, as of December 2017, had provided Chad with a total of $983,257. This money goes toward efforts to provide citizens with resources like medicine, education and some means to reduce the spread of illness, such as mosquito nets.
Additionally, The World Food Program is providing food relief to 1.4 million Chadians affected by chronic food insecurity. The organization provides the citizens with money that allows them to buy food from local markets in order to support the local economy. One can only hope that by ameliorating food insecurity in the country, life expectancy in Chad will begin to rise.
Solutions to the Problem
Although there are relief efforts at work in the country, Chad faces dire prospects if more is not contributed to the country’s efforts to stabilize. The life expectancy in Chad is frighteningly low and perhaps the most alarming thing about it is that it is caused by factors that can be fixed or prevented with adequate assistance. It is important that countries with the means to do something contribute to the efforts of improving the standard of living in Chad so that the citizens of the country can enjoy the long and full lives that all humans have a right to.
– Julia Bloechl