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Hundreds of Thousands of Children at Risk from Malaria in Central African Republic as President Resigns

Source: International Medical Corps - USA - Fri, 10 Jan 2014 18:30 GMT
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Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

January 10, 2014 - Following today's resignation of Central African Republic President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye, 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 the organization’s clinics in the capital of Bangui.

More than half a million people are displaced from their homes by recent fighting – many of them children. Over half the population of Bangui are seeking refuge at 60 sites across the city, mainly religious sites, where they have inadequate access to shelter, clean drinking water, latrines, food or health care.

"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.”

“These sites are becoming permanent. Market stalls are springing up, people selling mobile phone credit, opening laundry areas. If we see another prolonged period of insecurity, following the events today, these sites risk becoming permanent features of the city.”

Since December 15th, International Medical Corps has been operating clinics at 2 sites for displaced families - St Paul’s and St Bernard’s – which are providing refuge for more than 40,000 people. In the first 3 weeks of operating, International Medical Corps’ clinics have treated over 8,000 patients, 3,200 of them children under 5. The most common conditions are malaria (39%), acute respiratory infections (20%) and diarrheal disease (18%).

Despite the recent political developments, International Medical Corps’ focus remains on the humanitarian needs in CAR. This morning teams commenced a mass vaccination campaign against measles and polio in two sites in Bangui.

                                     ****

 Notes for Editors 

  • International Medical Corps representatives are available for comment. Please contact:

Josh Harris Communications Officer +44 (0)20 7017 3161 Mob: 07739021000

jharris@internationalmedicalcorps.org.uk

  • Photographs available upon request.

Since its inception nearly 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. For more information visit:  www.InternationalMedicalCorps.org. Also see us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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