SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2016

MSF responds to crisis in Central African Republic

Médecins Sans Frontières continues to respond to the coup d'état in the Central African Republic by bringing health care to those suffering from disease and left without health care services.

MSF built an emergency health care center and mobile clinics in Bossangoa to care for 150,000 people after the medical staff in the region fled. Some of the population lives in the bush to hide from armed men and violence.

The focus in the region is the treatment of malaria, diarrhea-related disease, malnutrition and wound care. Fifty-three percent of children and 50 percent of pregnant women that have been seen in the outpatient clinic have been diagnosed with malaria.

There has also been a serious need for antiretroviral drugs in the region, as 11,000 people are HIV-positive. The patients' treatment was interrupted by the coup. Over 300 people were registered and have missed their scheduled treatment.

MSF has also responded to a crisis in Batangafo, after more than a dozen villages were burned down in a conflict. Mobile clinics will be built in the next week to care for the 8,000 who were displaced during the conflict. Response teams will be distributing mosquito nets, blankets and soap.

Despite MSF's response, officials are still concerned with mosquito season coming up in CAR. Without proper access to health care, officials fear the already-high mortality rate among those with malaria will skyrocket.

"The health care challenges in CAR are huge, especially out the capital, where the health care system has been weak for many years," MSF Head of Mission Ellen can der Velden said. "This is a crisis on top of a crisis. The biggest needs are access to basic health care, including adequate amounts of drugs in the health facilities. We are calling on other non-governmental organizations, donors, and the United Nations to come into the country to help the population."