million people in need of humanitarian assistance
Central African Republic
Central African refugees in neighbouring countries
A population trapped
The population of the Central African Republic (CAR) continues to be severely affected by the clashes between armed groups both in the capital Bangui and in the provinces in the country’s interior. Despite the hopes raised by the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation, signed by the Central African government and 14 armed groups in February 2019, and the subsequent reduction in direct clashes between armed groups, violence persisted in CAR throughout 2019. Every day there are assassinations, abductions, arrests, arbitrary detentions, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, extortion, looting and destruction and seizing of property.
Apart from the day-to-day violence, incidents of extreme violence have led to the deaths of dozens of people and the displacement of thousands of civilians. Thousands of people have abandoned their villages to seek refuge elsewhere, increasing the number of displaced people and refugees in neighbouring countries, primarily Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but also Sudan and Chad.
The displaced people and refugees cannot be properly cared for, their health is impaired and a cause for concern, whether they are in a camp or staying with a host family. These population movements present a major humanitarian challenge for the NGOs and other organisations working in the Central African Republic.
The displaced people and refugees cannot be properly cared for, their health is impaired and a cause for concern.
Major health challenges and the importance of a humanitarian mission
The health infrastructure in CAR has also been a collateral victim of the conflict. Where healthcare facilities are not abandoned due to communities and medical staff having fled, they are targeted in attacks by armed groups.
The weakness of the healthcare system means it is unable to respond to the needs arising from the increasing numbers of people injured or suffering from mental health problems, rape and outbreaks of communicable diseases. The deadly epidemics of diseases such as polio, measles and monkeypox seen in 2019, not to mention the risk of diseases like Ebola, highlight the dangers due to the inadequacies of the healthcare system, health prevention and epidemiological monitoring.
Médecins du Monde’s humanitarian mission in CAR has been providing an emergency response since the beginning of the conflict in 2014 through the establishment of mobile clinics at a number of sites for displaced people.
We are currently supporting Ministry of Health facilities in Malimaka, Gobongo, Begoua, Lithon, Gbango and Bouboui.
Medical consultations provide care for children suffering from malaria, respiratory infections and diarrhoea. Children are screened for malnutrition and receive vaccinations. We also supply essential medicines and refer emergency cases to the appropriate services.
Sexual and reproductive health services are also provided to identify high-risk pregnancies and to enable women to give birth safely, access family planning methods and receive post-abortion care.
In June 2019, MdM demonstrated its capacity for rapid and coordinated response with other organisations, providing a high level of care to displaced people in the area between Bouar and Bohong in the west of the country who had fled the massacre carried out by an armed group in the Paoua region.
In November 2019, funding from the Humanitarian Fund enabled Médecins de Monde to establish its new rapid response medical team which operates a mobile clinic at three sites affected by flooding in Bangui. The floods forced over 28,000 people to flee their homes and gave rise to serious health risks.
Helping survivors of gender-based violence
Since May 2015, MdM has also been supporting care and treatment for survivors of gender-based violence. In partnership with the Ministry of Health, the AJFC (association of female lawyers) and the Inter-African Committee on Traditional Practices (IAC), Médecins du Monde provides survivors of gender-based violence with medical, psychosocial and legal assistance.
Mental health consultations are open to anyone in psychological distress and represent an essential source of support for a population traumatised by the ongoing fighting.
Having been active in the Central African Republic for several years, implementing a range of humanitarian projects, Médecins du Monde has acquired significant expertise and has established successful cooperation with the authorities and civil society in CAR.
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