Hundreds of Thousands of Children at Risk from Malaria in Central African Republic as President Resigns
January 31, 2014 - Following the resignation of Central African Republic (CAR) President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye on January 10th, International Medical Corps is concerned that an escalation in violence will hinder the delivery of critical relief, at a time when 40 percent of children under 5 are being diagnosed with malaria at our clinics in the capital of Bangui.
More than 900,000 people (20% of the population of CAR) are displaced from their homes by recent fighting – many of them children. Over 500,000 are seeking refuge at 60 sites across the capital city of Bangui, mainly religious sites, where they have inadequate access to shelter, clean drinking water, latrines, food or health care.
Since December 15th, International Medical Corps has been operating clinics at 2 sites for displaced families - St Paul’s and St Bernard’s. To date, we have treated over 18,600 patients and implemented an emergency vaccination campaign with support from UNICEF. The campaign included immunization against measles and polio, vitamin A supplementation, deworming medication, and screening for malnutrition reaching 18,000 youth. In addition, we have conducted more than 1,300 antenatal consultations for pregnant women and delivered 79 babies at these sites. International Medical Corps is also collaborating with nutrition partners to support a general food distribution and blanket feeding for children under five in the two camps. Our teams have also arrived in Bouca, Zemio, and Bambari to deliver health, nutrition, and protection activities, and have begun medical consultations and nutrition screenings in Bouca.
"We potentially face a malaria epidemic amongst the displaced populations in Bangui, and a political vacuum will make delivering the necessary aid much harder" says International Medical Corps Country Director, Dr. Christian Mulamba. “The conditions are terrible, cramped and squalid. The overcrowding combined with a lack of adequate shelter, water, food and health care means disease can spread easily and malnutrition rates are increasing rapidly. We are particularly concerned about the most vulnerable, such as young children, pregnant women and the elderly.”
Since its inception 30 years ago, International Medical Corps' mission has been consistent: relieve the suffering of those impacted by war, natural disaster and disease, by delivering vital health care services that focus on training. This approach of helping people help themselves is critical to returning devastated populations to self-reliance.