Sick, hungry and traumatised displaced in western Côte d'Ivoire
The three MSF mobile clinics in the western part of war-torn Côte d'Ivoire have started to receive great numbers of displaced families who have been hiding in the bush for weeks or even months.
The teams visit five sites on a weekly basis, doing about 1,500 consultations a week; the majority of which are children from displaced families.
Many families arrive at the mobile clinics with literally nothing left, suffering from malaria, skin diseases and hunger. Daily, the teams return with their cars full of severely malnourished to their base in Man.
All health care services collapsed after fighting broke out in December. All the health staff has fled the region and all health structures have been looted.
Two Côte d'Ivoire rebel groups - who also control the northern part of the country - control western Côte d'Ivoire. The government controls the south. Both sides use Liberian and Sierra Leonean fighters, who are allowed to "pay themselves", by looting the civilian population.
After months of fighting, the situation is dreadful: people have been displaced numerous times, have had to flee from helicopter gunship-attacks and from predatory rebels. Although the French army and the West African peace force ECOWAS are present to secure the area, inter-ethnic violence in the region and a very volatile situation in neighbouring Liberia, complicate their task.
MSF has already referred 80 children to the regional hospital in Man, which was restarted by another MSF team and where the organisation has opened a therapeutic feeding centre (TFC). MSF will continue nutritional supplementary care at the mobile clinic sites after these children are discharged from the TFC.