CAR: MSF launches operations in rebel-held north

News and Press Release
Originally published
NAIROBI, 25 February (IRIN) - Medecins Sans Frontieres has announced that it has succeeded in launching operations in the northern parts of the Central African Republic controlled by rebels loyal to the former army chief of staff, Francois Bozize.
"After several assessment missions in January, MSF is the only international organisation to work with the isolated population in this part of the country," the MSF office in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, reported on Tuesday.

Since Bozize's troops tried to seize power on 25 October 2002, the north of the country has been totally cut off from humanitarian-relief organisations.

However, MSF has embarked on a project in an area within the triangle defined by the towns of Kabo, Bossangoa and Dekoa, which have a combined population of about 300,000.

"The objective of the intervention is to provide health care to the population in the region affected by the conflict and respond to potential epidemic outbreaks," MSF stated.

It said MSF mobile teams were offering consultations, while organising an epidemiological surveillance system. The NGO was also assessing the possibility of starting an emergency surgical intervention, it said.

Many people have had no access to health services since the war broke out. The north and the east of the country have remained isolated. The country's health-care system and administrative management have continued to deteriorate, and health facilities have been systematically looted.

MSF reported that that in towns in the southeast of the country, such as Bossembele and Damara, residents who had fled into the bush were beginning to visit MSF clinics.

"They are frightened and weak, and we fear a rapid deterioration of their health condition," Raquel Ayora, an MSF volunteer in charge of the operations in the CAR, said.


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