News / Africa

Doctors Without Borders Seeks Help Treating CAR Wounded

People escort a wounded civilian at the community hospital in Bangui, Feb. 19, 2014.
People escort a wounded civilian at the community hospital in Bangui, Feb. 19, 2014.
Nick Long
The medical charity Doctors Without Borders is appealing for help in treating the thousands of people wounded and injured in the violence currently gripping the Central African Republic (CAR).  The charity, known by its French acronym MSF, said there are not enough health care workers on the ground to deal with the overwhelming number of patients.
The casualty ward at the main hospital in Bouar has probably never seen such an influx of injured patients as in the past few weeks.  Currently there are about 60.  Many of them are lying on the floor.  Many are children.

Until a team from MSF got here, earlier this month, the hospital had only one qualified nurse and two doctors and only one of these doctors, Wilfrid Komoyo, seems to be treating patients.

Abdou, a two-year-old boy with a bandage around his head, is recovering from his injuries.

Komoyo said Abdou was injured when a truck that he and about 40 other people were traveling in went off the road.  He said some of the passengers were also hit by bullets.

Another medical worker told VOA the truck was carrying Muslims who were trying to get out of the country.  He said the accident happened after the truck had come under fire from the anti-balaka militia.  Five people were killed and dozens injured.

Tens of thousands of Muslims have fled the CAR in the past three months as sectarian violence has escalated.

Last month a grenade was thrown at another truck near Bouar, and more than 20 people, nearly all Muslims, died.

On Sunday, the anti-balaka attacked a convoy of 89 vehicles evacuating Muslims from the west of the country, and 12 civilians were wounded, although African Union troops protecting the convoy managed to beat off the attackers.

Non-Muslims are also being brought to the casualty ward at Bouar’s main hospital.  One of them, who has bullet wounds, identified his attacker to VOA.

He said a soldier stole his father’s motorbike, and he went to recover it and the soldier shot at him.

Many soldiers of the Central African armed forces have been fighting alongside the anti-balaka.

Three doctors from MSF are now working with Dr. Komoyo. They have taken charge of treating all the wounded and injured at the hospital.

MSF said that since December 5 it has treated 3,600 people in the CAR for bullet, machete, grenade and knife wounds and other injuries. The charity currently has 240 of its own international staff working in CAR and 2,000 local assistants.

The head of MSF’s mission in the CAR is Marie-Elizabeth Ingres. She said there are people in need throughout the country, there is major violence, there are many wounded to treat and MSF finds itself almost alone, and overwhelmed by this very serious situation.
Ingres added that MSF is appealing to the other aid agencies to help out.  MSF can react to emergencies, she said, but it cannot be everywhere, in every health center, to provide the medium- and long-term support that the CAR health system needs.  

Dr. Komoyo told VOA that the World Health Organization (WHO) is paying salaries for some of the staff at the hospital while MSF is paying the other staff, and both UNICEF and the charity Save the Children are providing some free medicines.

But MSF seems to be the only international organization that has people on the ground in Bouar actually providing treatment and monitoring health care delivery.

One aid worker told VOA that since the MSF team arrived at the Bouar hospital its workers have frequently had to remind local staff not to charge patients for treatments and medicines that are supposed to be free.

You May Like

Video Americans, Tourists, Reflect on Meaning of Thanksgiving

VOA garnered opinions from several people soon after November 13 Paris attacks, which colored many of their thoughts

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

In northern Thailand, the annual tradition of constructing floating baskets to carry away the year’s bad spirits highlights the Loy Krathong festival

Video Tree Houses - A Branch of American Dream

Workshops aimed at teaching people how to build tree houses have become widely popular in America in recent years

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

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs