Central African Republic: All Parties Must Allow Access to Health Care

All parties to the conflict in CAR must respect health facilities and guarantee the population's access to health care.

CAR 2007 © Spencer Platt

A sign prohibits firearms in an MSF facility in a town outside Bangui.

BANGUI, CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC/NEW YORK, MARCH 25, 2013—As the opposition group Seleka takes charge of Bangui, all parties to the conflict in the Central African Republic must respect health facilities and guarantee the population's access to health care, the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today.

Violence and insecurity in Bangui over the last 48 hours have seriously disrupted MSF's operations and prevented critically wounded patients from being referred to surgical facilities. Displaced people throughout the country and in major cities taken by Seleka are also too fearful to access health facilities. MSF facilities in Bangui and Batangafo have been looted and robbed. 

“MSF condemns the looting and robberies of our facilities and reminds all parties that medical personnel must be respected and protected and must be granted all available help in the performance of their duties,” said Serge St. Louis, MSF head of mission in Bangui. 

All parties to the conflict must respect medical structures, ambulances, medical personnel, and sick and wounded patients, and guarantee access to health facilities without the risk of being targeted, MSF said. 

Insecurity and violence is preventing 23 wounded patients at MSF's emergency project in Sibut from being referred to Bangui for further treatment. 

MSF operations continue in Carnot, Paoua, Mboki, Zemio, Boguila, Batangafo, Kabo, Sibut, and Ndele. Once security conditions allow, MSF will assess medical needs in Bangui and other cities and undertake emergency measures to respond to medical needs. 

MSF has been assisting the population of the Central African Republic since 1996. The organization has approximately 80 international staff working in five of the country’s 17 prefectures.