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Central African Republic
MSF in Central African Republic , 2009
Field Staff: 963
Reason for Intervention:
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Since late 2005, fighting between the government and armed opposition groups and insecurity related to banditry has caused the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people in the northern regions of Central African Republic (CAR). The situation remained fragile throughout 2009, in spite of a peace accord between the government and various opposition groups signed the year before.
People still live in extremely precarious conditions and access to healthcare remains a major problem even in areas that have not been directly affected by conflict. Despite an overall increase in aid over the past five years, CAR struggles with high infant and maternal mortality rates and little health infrastructure. People are particularly vulnerable to malaria, respiratory infections, diarrhoeal diseases and malnutrition.
MSF provided healthcare for people affected by armed conflict and violence in the north by offering medical assistance to displaced people and returnees through a network of mobile clinics, hospitals, and health centers. Throughout 2009, more than 420,000 consultations were conducted. Thirty percent of the patients were treated for malaria, and more than 24,600 patients needed to be hospitalized. MSF teams also assisted more than 3,600 deliveries and carried out more than 5,000 surgical interventions. Patients began treatment for tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS as well as malnutrition, and basic relief items were distributed to those who had been displaced by the violence.
In the northwest, close to the border with Cameroon, the situation remained relatively calm in comparison to previous years. Many cattle-raising communities that had fled to neighboring countries returned, and people who had fled into the bush began coming back to their villages. This made access to health centers easier, and MSF teams were able to improve and expand their support to health posts further afield.
A medical program was opened to help people suffering from sleeping sickness along the Chadian border in the northwest of the country. By the end of the year more than 1,500 patients had been treated. In 2009 a new treatment known as NECT (Nifurtimox-Eflornithine Combination Therapy) was introduced. These drugs which are less expensive and easier to administer than previous treatments, are now being provided to cure this potentially fatal disease.
In July in the southwest of the country, local health authorities reported high levels of acute malnutrition, which prompted MSF to open an emergency nutritional program. A combination of poverty and insecurity in the region, and the lack of functional health facilities, contributed to the problem. In response MSF opened six programs in the region and between July and December treated more than 7,200 malnourished people: 67 percent were severely malnourished and 25 percent required hospitalization.
MSF has worked in the Central African Republic since 1997.