Unterstützung eines Krankenhauses in der Zentralafrikanischen Republik

Die deutsche Übersetzung dieses Textes folgt in Kürze: The Central African Republic (CAR) is among the ten poorest countries in the world and according to the Human Development Index it has the lowest level of human development of all countries. Nevertheless, it has many very valuable natural resources, like diamonds, gold, uranium, oil, timber and hydropower. This is the sad and paradox curse of natural resources. They evoke the greed of  people inside and outside of the country. The more valuable the resources are,  the more ruthless those racketeers and warlords become, fueling conflicts, funding rebels, and violating human rights in every aspect.

Since its independence in 1960, following over 100 years of French colonial rule, CAR has suffered from chronic insecurity, multiple coup d’états and poor governance. After a series of civil wars and political crises keeping the country in a chronic and prolonged health emergency, in 2013 the situation even deteriorated. By now according to the Doctors without Borders by now most of the health facilities are non-functional with 72% of public health facilities damaged or destroyed by violence and looting. Those functioning suffer from a shortage of skilled medical personnel, especially in the provinces. One fifth of the Central Africans are forced from their homes, 60% of them children. They are displaced inside their country or are refugees in the neighboring countries. According to the United Nations 48% of the population is unable to eat more than once a day and only 35% have access to safe drinking water.

And there is this other paradox that a crisis that persist for a longer time even if it stays dramatic, gradually disappears from the media because it is not new any more and thus does not produce “news” anymore. This is especially true for the Central African Republic where funding of humanitarian projects is heavily affected from not being recognized enough by international politics and the world public as such.

Eine Ärztin untersucht ein Kind im Krankenhaus in Bossangoa. © MSF / Ton Koene
Eine Ärztin untersucht ein Kind im Krankenhaus in Bossangoa. © MSF / Ton Koene

Doctors Without Borders are in several locations in the Central African Republic since 1997. In Bossangoa they run a hospital together with the Ministry of Health since 2013. After training Central African colleagues and handing over parts of the hospital to the Ministry of Health they continue to operate the intensive care unit, the surgery as well as the obstetrics ward and the ward for malnourished children. MSF also cares about the mental health of their often traumatized patients and do a lot of psychological counseling.

The Tereska-Foundation decided to support this project.

Der Eingang zum Krankenhaus in Bossangoa: Ein Schild weist darauf hin, dass keine Waffen erlaubt sind. © MSF / Ton Koene
Der Eingang zum Krankenhaus in Bossangoa: Ein Schild weist darauf hin, dass keine Waffen erlaubt sind. © MSF / Ton Koene

Malaria remains the biggest killer in the country and the leading cause of death among children under five years. In a recent report from Bossangoa the physician Miriam Böttcher says: “Most of the patients are children who are often chronically malnourished and suffer from malaria. This is the most common condition here. Some children suffer from anemia due to their malaria disease and need a life-saving blood transfusion, which we usually can give quickly, thanks to our blood bank and the blood donations of relatives. It always impresses me how a child suffering from severe malaria through the right treatment within a few days suddenly regains appetite, smiles, plays and can finally go home. When malaria is treated quickly, most children recover very fast. Untreated, however, it often leads to death. Often the families with their sick children have to travel from afar with motorcycle taxis. The journey is not safe, in addition to accidents, there is the risk of an attack, as many land tracts are unsafe due to the conflicts in the country.”

Eine Kaiserschnitt-Operation im Krankenhaus in Bossangoa. © MSF / Ton Koene
Eine Kaiserschnitt-Operation im Krankenhaus in Bossangoa. © MSF / Ton Koene

There is a gleam of hope now: Since March 2016 for the first time in its history, the Central African Republic has a democratically-elected President and Parliament. They did not manage to meet the expectations yet their power goes barely beyond the capital, but it is an extreme task to rebuild a country so exhausted after years of conflict and violence. “There is a crack, a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in” (Leonard Cohen).

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