Central African Republic: A healing journey in Bangui

France Beldo is being treated for a bullet wound at MSF’s SICA hospital in Bangui, Central African Republic.
Central African Republic 2021 © Adrienne Surprenant/Collectif ITEM MSF
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Since December 2020 the security and humanitarian situation has deteriorated rapidly in Central African Republic (CAR) as a coalition of armed groups clashes with the government, supported by United Nations (UN) military personnel and foreign troops, in the wake of presidential and general elections.

Fighting reached the outskirts of the capital, Bangui, on January 13, 2021. Thirty-one-year-old France Beldo was hit by a stray bullet and taken to SICA Hospital, a surgical trauma facility run by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

The journey of a wounded woman at MSF'SICA hospital in Bangui
Central African Republic 2021 © Adrienne Surprenant/Collectif ITEM MSF
The journey of a wounded woman at MSF'SICA hospital in Bangui
Central African Republic 2021 © Adrienne Surprenant/Collectif ITEM MSF

Beldo was shot while at home on her terrace in Bangui’s Damala neighborhood. The bullet penetrated her hand, chest, and shoulder, but luckily did not cause damage to any vital organs

The journey of a wounded woman at MSF'SICA hospital in Bangui
Central African Republic 2021 © Adrienne Surprenant/Collectif ITEM MSF

“We were near home when I heard gunfire. We went inside to hide,” recalls Beldo.

The journey of a wounded woman at MSF'SICA hospital in Bangui
Central African Republic 2021 © Adrienne Surprenant/Collectif ITEM MSF

“The shooting eased off, so we went out on the terrace. I was talking to my daughter when a bullet hit me.

I wondered if I was going to survive.

They took me on a motorbike [to SICA hospital] and I regained consciousness.”

The journey of a wounded woman at MSF'SICA hospital in Bangui
Central African Republic 2021 © Adrienne Surprenant/Collectif ITEM MSF

“They gave me medication, first-aid, and an X-ray. Three days later I had my first surgery.”

Since 2017 MSF teams have provided free surgery and trauma care in this 80-bed hospital. SICA has an emergency room and two operating theaters and offers comprehensive treatment, including postoperative care and physiotherapy. Though most of the trauma patients treated here are injured in traffic accidents, they frequently share the wards with people wounded by war.