News / Africa

Ivory Coast’s Health System Collapses, MSF Steps in

A man points to a burnt shop near Williamsville after a clash between Ivorian security forces and pro-Outtara fighters in Abidjan, March 15, 2011
A man points to a burnt shop near Williamsville after a clash between Ivorian security forces and pro-Outtara fighters in Abidjan, March 15, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua

The medical aid group Doctors Without Borders says “intense armed conflict and political gridlock” are taking a toll on Ivory Coast’s civilian population. The group, also known as MSF, is trying to fill the gaps left by a barely functioning health care system.

Renzo Fricke, MSF emergency coordinator, says, “Our teams are really trying to be where things are moving, things are going on. For the time being, we are operational in two main areas, which are in Abidjan and in the western part of the country.”

Injuries and disease

“In Abidjan, mostly what we see are civilians wounded due to violence or because of demonstrations or because of fighting,” he says. “These are the wounded we see arriving in bad condition in general.  In other structures where we run primary healthcare… it’s basically to replace the health system that is completely non-existent for the time being.  And in these places what we see, I would say, are regular diseases like diarrhea, children having malaria, respiratory infections and things like that.”

It’s estimated between 300,000 and 400,000 people have been displaced by the Ivoirian political crisis and violence.  Many have sought shelter in the bush, far from standard medical clinics.

Much of the fighting in Abidjan has centered in the Abobo district, where reports say there is only one hospital that’s still functioning.  Doctors Without Borders has staff there.

Fricke says, “We are working and trying to open more structures in Abidjan because we really think we can have an added value in this environment.  In this hospital in Abobo, we have seen so far around 10 or 15 people per day wounded…. In two weeks, these two last weeks, we had 130 wounded arriving…that we could treat.”

He points out that the medical aid group is neutral in the crisis, allowing it to operate among opposing sides.  “We are respected by the population for that,” he said.

It’s believed there are many people in Abidjan who need medical care but who are unable to get to a clinic or hospital.

“Access is very difficult.  And of course it’s very difficult to get reliable data on people who don’t access a health structure. But in any conflict setting and so on, we always know that only a part of the wounded or people in need of care actually reach a medical facility,” he says.

Going mobile

MSF is now running mobile clinics to bring medical care to where it’s needed, rather than waiting for patients to arrive at hospitals.

“We are running these mobile clinics in western Ivory Coast, also in Liberia, where there are tens of thousands of refugees, Ivoirian refugees,” says Fricke. "In Abidjan, we are more focused on directly supporting hospitals.”

MSF says, “The commercial and financial sanctions imposed by the international community against Ivory Coast, coupled with transportation problems, have led to shortages in medicines and medical supplies.”

The group says it has enough medicines for its operations, but the government is in short supply.  MSF emphasizes that while it’s a large organization, it cannot replace the formal state health system in Ivory Coast.

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid