International Medical Corps will immediately scale up its support to the government of Chad in polio eradication activities through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The organization will increase the availability of the polio vaccine and immunization services for targeted communities in eastern Chad; improve resilience to polio and other disease outbreaks through community education efforts; and strengthen the capacity of the local Ministry of Health (MoH) to deliver more efficient immunization services and implement polio surveillance activities.
“The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s grant will provide critical support for International Medical Corps’ polio eradication efforts in Chad. It is a tragic reality that this devastating disease – which was eradicated in the developed world decades ago through proper vaccination programs – still plagues so many children in parts of the developing world,” said Nancy A. Aossey, President and CEO of International Medical Corps. “These timely funds will now help ensure that the people of Chad have lifesaving vaccines as well as vital preventive care and education, key factors in the fight against polio.”
Chad currently has the world’s highest incidence of polio, with over 130 cases since the beginning of 2011 (reported as of May 2012). International Medical Corps has been working in Chad since 2004, providing primary and secondary health care, as well as nutrition support and training programs. Through mobile medical units and health professionals at key medical facilities, International Medical Corps will immunize children in Guereda, Iriba and Am Dam districts. This will be supplemented with public education campaigns on polio as well as door-to-door sensitization for communities. International Medical Corps will also train MoH providers, and community and village leaders. The project was first launched in early May with workshops for all stakeholders to reinforce strong coordination.