MSF: All parties in Central African Republic must respect health facilities

All parties to the current conflict in the Central African Republic must respect health facilities and ensure the population has access to health care, Médecins Sans Frontières said last week.

The international medical humanitarian group said violence and insecurity in Bangui after the opposition group Seleka took charge caused serious disruptions to MSF's operations, preventing wounded patients from being sent to surgical facilities. MSF's facilities have been robbed and looted in Bangui and Batangafo and displaced people across the country are afraid to access health facilities.

"MSF condemns the looting and robberies of our facilities and reminds all parties that medical personnel must be respected and protected and must be granted all available help in the performance of their duties," Serge St. Louis, MSF's head of mission in Bangui, said.

MSF said the groups involved in the conflict must guarantee access to health facilities without the risk of being targeted and respect medical personnel, ambulances, medical structures and wounded and sick patients.

Violence and a lack of security prevented 23 wounded patients at MSF's emergency project in Sibut from being sent to Bangui for additional treatment. When security conditions permit, MSF plans to assess medical needs in Bangui and other cities and take emergency measures to deal with medical requirements.

MSF is continuing operations in Ndele, Sibut, Kabo, Batangafo, Boguila, Zemio, Mboki, Paoua and Carnot.

The organization started assisting the population of the Central African Republic in 1996 and currently has approximately 80 international staff members working in five of the country's prefectures.