MSF launches emergency intervention in the north of the Central African Republic
Following three months of complete isolation, the population will at last receive medical assistance.
24 February 2003
Bangui - Three months after the fighting broke out, the humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been able to launch its activities in a more permanent way in northern territory of the Central African Republic (CAR), an area controlled by General François Bozizé's troops. Ever since the attempted coup perpetrated by General Bozizé on October 25th last year, the North of the country has been totally cut off from humanitarian relief organisations. After several assessment missions in January, MSF is the only international organisation to work with the isolated population in this part of the country. MSF has started a project in an area located within the triangle defined by the towns of Kabo, Bosangoa and Dekoa covering a population of approximately 300,000 people. The objective of the intervention is to provide health care to the population in the region affected by the conflict and respond to potential epidemic breakouts. The MSF mobile teams undertake consultations at the already existing health structures in these towns, while organizing an epidemiological surveillance system. Moreover, the possibility to launch an emergency surgical intervention will also be assessed. Ever since the conflict broke out, very heavily populated areas in the country have been left with no access whatsoever to health care services. On the one hand, the fact that the north and the east of the country remain isolated has only meant the disruption of supplies both with regard to medicines and other essential items. This vulnerable situation is the result of the ongoing deterioration of the country's health care system and administrative management as well as of destabilizing population displacements - including most of the health care staff who have fled from militarised areas - and the looting which health structures have systematically endured. In towns such as Bossembelé and Damara, in the country's central-southern area, the populations hiding in the bush come out to our clinic in search of medical care. "They are frightened and weak and we fear a rapid deterioration of their health condition" Raquel Ayora, one of the MSF volunteers in charge of the operations in the Central African Republic, has stated.