Central African Republic public health sector in ruins

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Thousands of people have been forced from their homes by fresh fighting in the capital, adding to the previous CAR total or some 206,000 IDPs (© UNHCR/D.Mbaiorem)

Health services in the war torn Central Africa Republic have collapsed leaving the civilian population vulnerable to disease outbreaks and the war wounded without proper treatment, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO says medical facilities have been looted and extensively damaged, forcing health workers including doctors and nurses to abandon their posts.

Essential medical supplies are also critically low.

Dr Rick Brennan, WHO Director of Emergency and Humanitarian Response , says the displaced population is in grave danger of contracting communicable diseases due to the lack of adequate water supplies and sanitation facilities.

“The social sector including the health sector has essentially collapsed and health services are largely dependent on the international community. WHO and our partners have taken some very key steps. Our first priority has been to extend health services to those displaced persons in the camps. In Bangui, together with our partners we have overseen the vaccination of over 140,000 children particular against measles. We've distributed drugs to meet the needs of 180,000 people for the next three months. WHO is also working with partners to establish a system to detect and respond to outbreaks when they occur. We've already seen outbreaks of measles in at least two sites. And we are working on a plan with the government to reactivate health facilities. I Bangui there are 24 health centres clinics and hospitals, seven of them are currently operational. Across the country, there are over 500 health facilities. We don't have our arms fully around how many of those are functional now, but we need a systematic plan together with partners to ensure they are adequately staffed have the drugs supplies equipment and supervision.”

WHO says its ability and thatof its partners to respond to the growing emergency health needs in the CAR is being limited by lack of funding.

Its appeal for $ 55 million dollars for the CAR response has to date received about 3 million dollars.

Patrick Maigua, United Nations Radio, Geneva.

Duration 2.03″

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