Urgent need for health assistance in Central African Republic

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Tarik Jasarevic

People living in the Central African Republic are in desperate need of quality healthcare, according to the World Health Organization.

A total of 533,000 people are currently displaced in the country, that's more than 10% of the population. Hospitals have been looted and health personnel have fled their posts.  A health assessment carried out by WHO and other agencies between June and August, before the latest escalation of violence, found pockets of severe malnutrition and low immunization.  Even before the conflict, the country was one of the world's worst in terms of health. Life expectancy is just 47 years.

Tarik Jasarevic, Spokesperson for WHO, says the security situation makes providing healthcare ever more difficult:

"There is a shortage of medical supplies due to the insecurity, that health workers have been fleeing insecurity and leaving health facilities.  Health facilities are being looted by armed groups. More than 50% of health units have been vandalised and looted." 

Right now, WHO says its priorities are trauma care and surgery for people who've been injured as well restoring basic and emergency health services. WHO says it's only received 35% of the funding that's needed to provide sufficient health care to the people of the Central African Republic. It still needs a further US$ 5.4 million.

Nicki Chadwick, UN Radio, Geneva

(Duration 1'29")

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