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Life Expectancy in Chad
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

Photo: Flickr

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