Smiles in Central African Republic – An encouraging update
Despite the constant armed conflict and violence in Central African Republic (CAR), our work there which promotes an educational approach and focuses on child care is showing real results.
Over the last few decades, CAR has endured the chaos and disruptions of various armed groups operating throughout the country. It remains one of the poorest countries in the world, with exceptionally high infant mortality rates and inadequate health services.
Since 2012 International Medical Corps has been supporting the country through primary health care, medical training, water, sanitation and hygiene interventions with the aim of encouraging grass-root changes alongside community leaders.
Joachim Blendji, second in command at the Konengbe health post in Haute-Kotto - one of the largest prefectures in CAR, explains how this approach improves the quality of health care and changes people’s lives in the local area.
“With the help of materials provided by International Medical Corps, we can take better care of patients. We are trained to understand emergency care for pregnant women and mothers, which better equips us to help those in need.
This certainly strengthens our ability to help and we also learn new experiences”, he says outside the small facility built on simple red bricks and metal roofing.
Joachim adds proudly, “We have medicines in our health centre now - before we were lacking important supplies - we needed to send patients to go buying medicines on the streets before we could treat them, and the drugs sold on the streets are not of a good quality.”
It is not only the medical support and training that has made a difference, the impact of the hard work and dedication of the Konengbe team is felt throughout the community every day.
He smiles broadly when recalling the day a young woman from Eglise Baptiste – a neighbourhood three kilometers away – brought her sick son to the health facility. The small boy was feverish and in pain, having developed severe skin rashes.
Through the free healthcare and treatments Joachim’s team could provide, the boy quickly started recovering – and his mother Francine was provided with training in how to keep her son healthy and free from preventable diseases in the future.
Francine’s child is among thousands of children who are now receiving treatment from hospitals and health centres through International Medical Corps’ programmes funded by Bêkou Fund. He is a clear indication of how humanitarian organisations are helping to ensure better child care and treatments in a country where children face long odds to survive into adulthood.
The Konengbe team is motivated and determined to continue bringing bright smiles to people’s faces, to educate people about health care so that mothers like Francine can keep their children healthy.