Certain population groups have been rendered vulnerable in Chad because of displacement of more than 200,000 people over the last three years as a result of mass violence against civilians in the east of the country. The objective of the study was to assess mortality and nutritional patterns among displaced and non-displaced population living in camps, villages and a town in the Ouddaï and Salamat regions of Chad.
Between May and October 2007, two stage, 30-cluster household surveys were conducted among 43,900 internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in camps in Ouaddai region (n = 898 households), among 19,400 non-displaced persons (NDPs) living in 42 villages in Ouaddai region (n = 900 households) and among 17,000 NDPs living in a small town in Salamat region (n = 901 households). Data collection included anthropometric measurements, measles vaccination rates and retrospective mortality. Crude mortality rate (CMR), mortality rate among children younger than 5 years (U5MR), causes of death and the prevalence of wasting (weight-for-height z score <−2) among children aged 6 to 59 months were the main outcome measures.
The CMR among the 4902 IDPs in Gozbeida camps, 4477 NDPs living in a village and 4073 NDPs living in a town surveyed was 1.8 (95% CI, 1.2–2.8), 0.3 (95% CI, 0.2–0.4), 0.3 (95% CI, 0.2–0.5) per 10,000 per day, respectively. The U5MR in a camp (n = 904), a village (n = 956) and a town (n = 901) was 4.1 (95% CI, 2.1–7.7), 0.5 (95% CI, 0.3–0.9) and 0.7 (95% CI, 0.4–1.4) per 10,000 per day, respectively. Diarrhoea was reported to be the main cause of death. Acute malnutrition rates (according to the WHO definition) among 904 IDP children, 956 NDPs children living in a village, 901 NDP children living in a town aged 6 to 59 months were 20.6% (95% CI, 17.9%–23.3%), 16.4% (95% CI, 14.0%–18.8%) and 10.1% (95% CI, 8.1%–12.2%) respectively. The study found a high mortality rate among IDPs and an elevated prevalence of wasting not only in IDP camps but also in villages located in the same region. The town-dweller population remains at risk of malnutrition. Appropriate contingency plans need to be made to ensure acceptable living standards for these populations.