MSF supports people displaced by conflict in Cameroon’s Far North region

Cameroon 2021 © MSF

On August 10, a clash broke out between the Mouzgoum and Choa Arab communities in the Logone-Birni district in Cameroon’s Far North region following a land dispute. The looting and burning of villages that ensued led people to seek refuge in the Cameroonian district of Kousseri and across the border in Chad. Health workers mobilized in the region in response to the consequences of the clash, which resulted in the deaths of 12 people, injured around 100, and displaced roughly 30,000 from their homes. Over a month after tensions eased, humanitarian needs remain as the rainy season brings a peak in the rates of malaria and diarrheal diseases and the attending floods increase the risk of cholera.

"In collaboration with the Kousseri Health District, Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) intervened in the first days of the clashes, enabling the hospital in Kousseri to provide better care for the injured,” said Ballé Diouf, head of MSF’s Kousseri emergency project. “The support MSF provided by referring injured patients with serious cases to [the Chadian capital of] N’djamena has relieved the patients, families, and staff at the hospital in Kousseri. This has made it possible to save the lives of patients who would otherwise [might not have received] appropriate care in Kousseri."

When the fighting began, an MSF team comprising two doctors, two nurses, and a clinical psychologist along with a coordinating team cared for injured and displaced people in the villages of Missika, Madiako, and the Logone Birni district. We also donated emergency medical kits to treat 55 wounded people and an ambulance to transfer the seriously injured from the regional hospital in Kousseri to N’djamena. Since the end of August, MSF's presence has been reduced, but we continue to work with all mobilized actors to assess the needs.

Most of the people displaced by the fighting were forced to leave their possessions behind when they fled their homes, walking several kilometers to reach safety. The main health problems identified by MSF teams who visited the area to provide emergency assistance were malaria, diarrhea, and child malnutrition. A total of 1,972 medical consultations were carried out in Oundouma and Gamakotoko, and 33 patients, including wounded people, pregnant people, and severely malnourished children, were referred to hospital facilities such as the intensive therapeutic nutritional unit supported by MSF across the border in N’djamena.

We have since passed the baton to other actors who are mobilizing to continue to provide care to meet the medical needs of displaced people and host populations alike along the Chadian banks of the Logone River.

MSF has been present in Cameroon since 1984. Today, we run medical humanitarian projects in the Far North and South West regions of the country.

In the Far North, where MSF has been working since 2012, our teams support the Cameroonian health system to facilitate access to medical services, providing services including surgical, psychological, obstetric, and maternal health care; and COVID-19 awareness raising. All MSF services are provided free of charge and carried out in accordance with medical ethics.