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Behind the scenes of the battle to provide healthcare in Central African Republic

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By Monica Pinna
Behind the scenes of the battle to provide healthcare in Central African Republic

One of the poorest countries in the world, Central African Republic has been under raging conflict since 2013. To date, up to 6,000 people have been killed.

Half of the country’s population is in need of humanitarian help, around 2.5 million people.

Euronews reporter Monica Pinna travelled to the village of Boda, around 200 km west of the capital Bangui. Boda is considered a “post-conflict” area and pictures a strong contrast compared with the situation in the rest of the country.

“[Boda] is a part of the country that has been calm for about two years, unlike the north-western, central or southeastern part of the country that is still going through a rather dramatic security and humanitarian situation and a penury that has been on the rise for about a year” explains Patrick Wieland, head of the EU Humanitarian Aid Office Bangui.

Despite the challenges that areas like Boda still face, other regions directly affected by the conflict have little or no access to healthcare. Thirty-four percent of health structures in the country have been damaged or destroyed due to the ongoing conflict.

Facilitating the access to healthcare in remote villages is among the priorities for NGOs like Alima, over 1000 babies were born there last year. The NGO is financed by the EU Humanitarian Aid Office.

Euronews’ Monica Pinna spent 24 hours at the Hospital of Boda, run by the ONG Alima, which she described as a ‘roller coaster of emotions’: “We could see so many children being born, and we witnessed one birth … it was really moving… Today one child lost his life, he came here in a very serious condition. He was suffering from malaria and unfortunately, he didn’t make it.”

CAR ranks 2nd worldwide for both infant and maternal mortality, and there are huge obstacles for Humanitarian Aid workers to access, explains Patrick Wieland: “There are two main problems. One is logistical, as roads are unusable and most locations can only be reached by plane. The other is a matter of security, as we need to negotiate, to mediate, with armed groups in order to get access to people living in camps for displaced people. Over there, there is an urgent need for healthcare, food, water, shelter and protection.”.

The conflict shows no sign of letting up, and the Central African Republic remains the most dangerous country in the world for humanitarian workers after Syria.

Watch Monica’s video diary above and the full report here