The situation remains tense in Bangui, capital of Central African Republic (CAR), following the resurgence of violence at the end of September. Many have sought refuge in camps for displaced people such as Ben Zvi, John XXII, Saint-Sauveur, and Mpoko. More than 44,000 displaced people in the city are living in poor, unsanitary conditions, with little or no access to health care.
Many families that were already living in refugee camps are now hosting even more people newly displaced by the violence. This is particularly true in the Mpoko Camp, near Bangui Airport, where Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) runs a health structure. MSF is currently reinforcing its water, hygiene, and sanitation services in the camp.
"Displaced people are facing new health problems as a result of having to live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions in the camps," says MSF head of mission in Bangui Emmanuel Lampaert. "Among these families, some of them were already living in these camps for several months and had already tried unsuccessfully to return home. It is essential now to provide adequate access to health care to these people."
Many health centers in Bangui are no longer operational due to the ongoing insecurity, forcing many people to seek care in MSF’s structure in the Mpoko camp. Before the resurgence of violence and the influx of new displaced people, the MSF team in Mpoko were providing between 250 and 300 consultations per day. Currently, more than 400 people seek care at the structure daily, and the number of deliveries has risen from 25 to 42 per week.
Wounded patients that need referral are transferred by ambulance to Bangui's Hopital Général. In less than one week, MSF teams working in Hopital Général have received more than 80 people wounded by gunshots, grenades, or sharp weapons.
Shortly after the outbreak of violence in September, MSF teams set up mobile clinics in five camps across town. Currently, these mobile clinics receive more than 1,000 patients per week, mainly for malaria and respiratory infections. The clinics offer free access to quality health care despite the volatile and unpredictable security situation.
MSF has also organized a measles vaccination campaign for children six months to ten years of age in 12 priority sites, including all MSF sites and the Central Mosque of the PK5 neighborhood, where MSF runs a mobile clinic once a week. Despite the violence, MSF is continuing to receive patients in Hopital Général, provide maternal care in Castor maternity, and support the Mamadou Mbaiki Health Center.