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Central African Republic: ALIMA’s mobile clinics care for flood victims

Following weeks of heavy rains, and the worst flooding seen in more than 20 years in the Central African Republic’s (CAR) capital city, Bangui, ALIMA (The Alliance For International Medical Action) launched mobile clinics to provide emergency medical care to the most-affected populations.

Tens of thousands of people, already rendered vulnerable by ongoing conflict, have been left homeless since November due to the rising water levels of the Oubangui River. The risk of mosquito- and water-borne diseases is high.

“The water arrived at the level of our backs,” said Henriette Coembi, a fisherwoman, whose family lost their livelihoods. “All night, we kept thinking the rain would stop, but the water kept rising and rising,” Henriette said. “We lost our house, our beds, our food, our clothes – everything.”

Henriette and her family currently have no access to potable drinking water; their local health center was destroyed. When her children and grandchildren got sick with diarrhea, fever and vomiting, they had nowhere to go, and had no money to pay for health care – even if a health center was available.

ALIMA’s mobile clinics – a team of health workers who travel on rough roads to reach the worst affected populations, now provide free`primary medical care, including testing and treatment for malaria, malnutrition and other health problems, such as diarrhea and respiratory distress. Serious cases are referred to the hospital in Bimbo – some 15-25 kilometers away.

“The needs are quite high,” said Doctor Rodrigue Djonkou, one of the mobile clinic doctors. “We are seeing many, many cases of malaria, particularly among children. Health care access here is essential.”

More than 1,000 people, including children under the age of five and pregnant women, have benefited from free medical care – including consultations, treatment and vaccinations – from ALIMA teams, since the flooding began. Our teams have also distributed mosquito nets and water purification tablets to affected families.

Photos: Jennifer Lazuta / ALIMA 

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