A UNICEF-supported nutrition rehabilitation unit offers treatment to displaced children suffering from food insecurity due to the Lake Chad crisis
Since 2015, in the Lake Chad region, 120,000 people have fled their islands to seek refuge. UNICEF has been supporting 6 mobile clinics, bringing health care to the Internally Displaced People (IDP) site. The hospital of Liwa, with his nutrition rehabilitation unit, is working together with the mobile clinics to offer treatment to children under the age of 5 suffering from malnutrition.
“I used to leave on the island of Kani but we were attacked and sacked by Boko Haram. We went to another village and they attacked again. Now, I live in Demerom, an IDP site. I finally feel safe but Abu has been sick for the past 2 months. This morning they brought us in an ambulance to the Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit (NRU) of Liwa. Many people in the site came back from the NRU with healthy babies, which gives me hope that Abu will feel better soon.” Haoua Issa, 18 and Abu Kaka Ali, 2 years old, Internally Displaced in Chad.
“I went back to my island to farm. It is not easy for me as I am divorced and alone. We were barely eating. I stopped having milk and I couldn’t breastfeed him anymore. Oumar got sick. The health center was very far, 3 days walk. When I came back to the IDP site, Oumar was already sick for some time, he could not even sit. The mobile clinic brought us back to the Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit. Now, we have been here for 6 days and he feels much better.” Falmata Maraou, 25 and Oumar Goni, 2 years old, Internally Displaced in Chad.
“Thanks to the mobile clinic we were brought in an ambulance during the night because Yala was too weak. When I was in the islands, even though we had a health center I would not go and whenever my children got sick, I used the Doctor Choukou (itinerant pharmacist who sells medicines in the black market at lower prices). Here at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit it is better: you are certain to get a treatment until you have completely recovered.” Dchelou Alhaji, 30 and Yala Omar, 4, Internally Displaced in Chad.
“We used to eat fish and fruits every day back home, in the islands. Now I only have cereals. I have no milk left for my baby. Since we ran away from Boko Haram, I don’t feel well. We have lost everything and I keep thinking about it.” Fatime Choukou, 30 and Yande Kane, 1 year old, Internally Displaced in Chad.
“We receive approximately 30 children a month. 75% come from displaced sites. All of them come with the mobile clinics, they would not have another way. The death rate at the Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit (NRU) is at 8% — so the vast majority is healed after 7 to 10 days. Yet, sometimes they come too late or we receive cases that would require intensive care unit, reanimation room and oxygen which we don’t have her.” Dr Lewine Koyoumtan, Medical Doctor, Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit of Liwa, who, in the photo above, is preparing therapeutic milk for children admitted at the NRU.
In Chad, 3,5 million people are suffering from food insecurity and 3% of children under the age of 5 are suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM). Thanks to the Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department of the European Commission (ECHO), UNICEF has supported 46 Nutrition Rehabilitation Unit throughout the country consequently improving access of children under 5 to nutrition services and treatment of SAM cases, especially in emergency context.