WHO identifies key health priorities in the Central African Republic
On 17 December, WHO team visited the displacement camp near Mpoko airport hosting around 45 000 people who have fled recent violence, to rapidly assess the health situation and priority needs.
At the Mpoko camp, as across the rest of the country, key health concerns include:
- the large number of internally displaced people (150,000 in Bangui and 500,000 nationwide) living in overcrowded sites without access to safe water and sanitation, which increases the risk of diarrhoeal diseases such as cholera, typhoid fever and dysentery.
- health workers fleeing insecurity and leaving health facilities unstaffed
- major shortages of medicines and medical supplies.
- damage to and looting of health facilities by armed groups - more than 50% of the health facilities assessed so far have been vandalized or looted, and lack essential medicines; 3 facilities alone were again looted in Bangui last night
- weak disease surveillance in a context of poor living conditions and a high burden of communicable diseases such as malaria and pneumonia
- sexual and gender based violence, in a context of already high HIV prevalence
- insufficient operational partners to provide hospital and basic health care services.
The most pressing priorities for WHO and its partners are:
- the immediate provision of trauma care and surgery for persons with injuries
- restoration of basic and emergency health services, including hospital services
- continued provision of medicines and medical supplies
- disease surveillance, and prevention and control of communicable diseases
- overall health response coordination, including increasing the geographical overage of a minimum package of health care services.
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