C. Africa headed for health meltdown: MSF

July 9, 2013

The Central African Republic faces a meltdown in health care affecting millions of people after a coup in Bangui by rebels of the Seleka coalition, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned in a report Tuesday.

Following the March coup that plunged the poor, landlocked country of some 4.5 million people into chaos, vital health resources have been pillaged and aid is struggling to trickle through to those in need, said MSF.

The NGO is urging the transitional government set up under Seleka leader Michel Djotodia to "guarantee security conditions that will allow humanitarian organisations to provide assistance to people throughout the country".

Looting and attacks still take place in the capital and hospitals have been pillaged, along with homes, , schools, government ministries, the report said. In the , medicines, , patients' files and even the furniture have gone.

Security concerns led UN agencies and many NGOs to withdraw to the capital "leaving the majority of the country without aid", MSF said.

"The people have effectively been abandoned just when they most need help," the report added.

MSF observed that health care was already in a dire state for years before the latest coup, which ousted president Francois Bozize. The system to distribute medication had become wholly inadequate and was now "totally inexistent", it said.

The charity said that it has continued to run nine medical programmes in the country throughout the recent crisis, while expanding services to other areas, but fears that "the international community looks on with indifference".

"Even before the coup, the country was in crisis, with well above the emergency threshold in several regions. Malnutrition and are rife, while malaria is the leading cause of death," the report said.

"MSF teams are seeing alarming numbers of malaria cases, which are 33 percent higher than the same period last year."

"We are facing one of the worst years in terms of the impact of the disease," said Ellen van der Velden, MSF's head of mission in CAR, quoted in the report.

UN agencies, MSF and other NGOs have all suffered from repeated looting of their stocks, which has resulted in at least 11,000 HIV-positive people being deprived of treatment.

Vaccination campaigns have also been affected. In May, a measles vaccination drive reached only 122,000 enfants in and around Bangui, but nothing could be set up to help children in the rest of the unstable country.

"Funding is also an issue," the NGO warned. "Of the total funds requested in March 2013 by UN agencies and non-governmental organisations to face the current crisis in CAR, so far just 31 percent has been disbursed."

Explore further: Measles epidemic sweeps northern Syria

Related Stories

Measles epidemic sweeps northern Syria

June 18, 2013
An epidemic of measles is sweeping through parts of northern Syria, with at least 7,000 people affected because the ongoing civil war has disrupted vaccination programmes, Doctors Without Borders said on Tuesday.

Patents making new AIDS drugs expensive, MSF says

July 2, 2013
New potentially life-saving HIV drugs are "beyond reach" due to restrictive patents, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said Tuesday, even though basic medication for the disease has become cheaper.

1,000 women a day die in childbirth, says MSF

March 8, 2012
About 1000 women die each day in childbirth or from preventable complications related to pregnancy, humanitarian group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) said Thursday.

Two-thirds of Myanmar HIV patients untreated: MSF

February 22, 2012
International funding cuts threaten to deepen an HIV crisis in Myanmar, where tens of thousands of people are denied lifesaving treatment, an aid agency said Wednesday.

Measles kill over 1,000 DR Congo children since January: UN (Update)

July 25, 2011
A measles epidemic has killed 1,145 children in the Democratic Republic of Congo since January, the UN's Humanitarian Affairs mission in Kinshasa said Monday.

Nigeria must clear lead poison soil to avoid 'disaster', MSF says

November 15, 2012
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Thursday urged Nigeria to release funds promised to clean up an area where lead poison killed hundreds of children, warning that further delays could be "disastrous."

Recommended for you

New study offers insights on genetic indicators of COPD risk

January 16, 2018
Researchers have discovered that genetic variations in the anatomy of the lungs could serve as indicators to help identify people who have low, but stable, lung function early in life, and those who are particularly at risk ...

Previous influenza virus exposures enhance susceptibility in another influenza pandemic

January 16, 2018
While past exposure to influenza A viruses often builds immunity to similar, and sometimes different, strains of the virus, Canadian researchers are calling for more attention to exceptions to that rule.

Don't hold your nose and close your mouth when you sneeze, doctors warn

January 15, 2018
Pinching your nose while clamping your mouth shut to contain a forceful sneeze isn't a good idea, warn doctors in the journal BMJ Case Reports.

New antifungal provides hope in fight against superbugs

January 12, 2018
Microscopic yeast have been wreaking havoc in hospitals around the world—creeping into catheters, ventilator tubes, and IV lines—and causing deadly invasive infection. One culprit species, Candida auris, is resistant ...

Dengue takes low and slow approach to replication

January 11, 2018
A new study reveals how dengue virus manages to reproduce itself in an infected person without triggering the body's normal defenses. Duke researchers report that dengue pulls off this hoax by co-opting a specialized structure ...

Different strains of same bacteria trigger widely varying immune responses

January 11, 2018
Genetic differences between different strains of the same pathogenic bacterial species appear to result in widely varying immune system responses, according to new research published in PLOS Pathogens.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.