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Improving the Health of Darfur Refugees in Chad

  • January 8, 2008

Since the Darfur conflict erupted in 2003, more than 200,000 Sudanese have fled into neighboring Chad, where the majority of them are now living in refugee camps.  The increase in population has strained the small communities located in eastern Chad, and access to health care has been one of the greatest challenges.

AmeriCares has responded to this crisis by supporting an emergency health care program for Gaga Camp in the Wadi-Fira region of Chad. Managed by International Medical Corps (IMC), Gaga Camp is home to nearly 17,000 Sudanese refugees, and is located within a rural community of 20,000 Chadians. 

AmeriCares made a grant of $175,000 to improve health care conditions at Gaga Camp, with a goal of reducing illness and mortality rates among the war-affected population living both within and outside of the camp. This funding enabled IMC staff to make structural improvements to the Gaga camp’s health clinic as well as to the nearby Am Leyouna health center. Prior to the grant, both facilities were in acute need of physical upgrading to service the swelling population in the area, and they also needed medicines, medical supplies and equipment to respond to the health needs.

Through the AmeriCares grant, medicines and supplies were procured for both clinics, and the combination of larger facilities and available treatments enabled IMC to provide medical consultations for more than 10,000 people within the first two months, including routine vaccinations for more than 8,000 residents.   In addition, the IMC staff was able to conduct health and hygiene education for 27,000 community residents, an integral step in reducing the spread of the most prevalent illnesses found at camp, including respiratory infections and diarrheal diseases.

The grant also made a provision to cover training costs for a variety of health care providers, to increase the capacity of the community to provide better treatments and services. Through this funding, training has been provided to 12 traditional birth attendants, 30 school teachers and community health workers to support mental health needs, and to local Ministry of Health personnel to build their long-term capacity. 

AmeriCares has been supporting the humanitarian efforts in Darfur and Chad for four years. Since 2004, AmeriCares has sent nine airlifts carrying over $2 million worth of medicines, medical supplies and other aid to Darfur to help the people devastated by the conflict.