UNICEF helps restock health clinics in CAR but population remains desperate

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Internally displaced people in the Central African Republic (© OCHA/Laura Fultang)

The humanitarian situation in the Central African Republic remains dire with insecurity hampering access and delivery of much needed relief supplies, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

However UNICEF says its emergency teams have managed in the past few weeks to restart health services in two districts in the centre of the country that have been hard hit by the on going crisis.

The mobile teams based in Kaga Bandoro and Bambari districts have provided emergency supplies to 19 health facilities serving a population of about 166,000.

The facilities have been closed or were non operational for many months due to drug shortages.

Marixie Mercado from UNICEF says the fund is planning to reach 26 additional health posts serving 325,000 people with emergency supplies over the next few days.

"Through these emergency mobile teams and elsewhere across the country, UNICEF is working with national authorities and partners to restart or rehabilitate basic services wherever security permits. Late last month, we brought in over 50 metric tons of humanitarian supplies. A vaccination campaign that is being rolled out as access opens up has reached almost 200,000 children since May with measles and polio immunization, as well as Vitamin A and deworming medication. Even before the military take over of the country, the Central African Republic was already one of the toughest places for a child to survive, consistently ranking among the bottom 10 countries in development indicators. Needs have deepened and extended, and children are bearing the runt of a vicious cycle of poverty, poor governance, conflict and political instability." 

UNICEF is also appealing for increased donor support for its operations in the Central Africa Republic, noting that it has only received about $9 million out of the $32.4 million requested.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

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