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Alarming Increase in Malaria Cases Grips CAR

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Kim Lewis
The international medical aid agency, Doctors Without Borders, also known as MSF, says a medical humanitarian crisis is gripping citizens in Central African Republic. 

The country has been plagued by political instability and insecurity, and now it is experiencing an alarming increase in the number of malaria cases. 

In a just released report, MSF calls on humanitarian agencies to maintain their commitment to CAR, and allocate adequate resources to respond to the medical and humanitarian needs of the people.

“We have seen a drastic increase of malaria cases compared to last year,” said Cristina Falconi, head of mission for MSF in Bangui.  She further explained, “[In the] first quarter, we have treated around 74,000 patients with malaria, which means a 33-percent increase of malaria compared to last year.”

Falconi said Doctors without Borders is providing medical services in villages throughout the country.  They are working to get those people who need to be hospitalized to medical centers for treatment. 

“We are trying to not focus only on the hospitals, but we are going physically every day with our mobile teams, and we are visiting the health centers in the different villages, which are quite far from the main town,” explained Falconi. 

Due to the insecurity in and around Bangui, the medical aid group experiences the daily risk of robbery or attacks.  Falconi said they must evaluate their situation on a daily basis when trying to access remote areas.  For example, in the southwest of the country they were able to analyse the security risk before they entered the area.  Once it was determined to be safe to proceed, they were able to provide much needed medical treatment to patients without any harm to themselves or the patients.

MSF urges international humanitarian agencies to make CAR a priority now because in the months to come, the agency expects the crisis to worsen.

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