Polio-free Chad: UNICEF quarterly newsletter on the polio eradication initiative in Chad, October 2013

Report
from UN Children's Fund
Published on 24 Oct 2013

On the occasion of the World Polio Day, we are pleased to share with you the third issue of the UNICEF Quarterly Newsletter on polio eradication efforts in Chad.

Polio eradication efforts in Chad have yielded excellent results over the past 15 months. By the end of 2012, the total number of new infections had dropped by more than 95%, and this year, there have been no new cases of WPV to date.

The engagement of the Chadian Government, whose president declared an all-out war on the virus back in 2009, has played a key role in reaching a crucial milestone on June 14th of this year, after 12 consecutive months without a new case of WPV.

Support from partners such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Government of Japan, USAID, CDC Atlanta and Rotary International has been decisive, and without which operating agencies on the ground including UNICEF and WHO would not have been able to put in place the structures and implement the strategies that helped enable such a promising result.

In Chad, and despite sizable challenges (dispersed populations, difficult terrain, insufficient knowledge on good family practices, frail cold chain system and lack of qualified health workers just to name a few), real progress was made, and the country is now on its way to becoming polio-free.

Efforts were intensified across all facets of the Eradication Initiative, from the complete overhaul of the country’s cold chain system to the deployment of more than 45 national communication staff to increase community awareness trough working with community and religious leaders, to special campaigns targeting previously hard-to-reach beneficiaries such as nomadic groups and refugees, to the recent implementation of the Reaching Every District (RED) strategy, and the revitalization of the country’s immunization programme, efforts were not spared.

Notwithstanding this promising result, the cVDPV situation in Chad remains a source of concern. Five cases have been confirmed this year, prompting a dense schedule of localized mop-up campaigns.

In this new edition of Polio–Free Chad, and as we celebrate the important eradication milestone that has been reached in June 2013, we try to shed the light on working with traditionally hard-to-reach communities of nomadic tribes, along their seasonal migration routes across the southern borders with the Central African Republic.

Communication for Development in the Chadian context, and being one of UNICEF’s flagship disciplines, is also featured in this edition of Polio-Free-Chad, alongside a number of human interest stories and a photo gallery that we hope will give you a feel for our work on the ground here.

We hope this newsletter will serve you well as a tool to obtain periodic information updates and generally as a channel for improved interaction between partners.

Thank you for your continued support to polio eradication efforts in Chad.

Yours sincerely,

Bruno Maes