Wars, riots and coups – since the Central African Republic became independent in 1960, the country has been in a constant state of unrest. Every year, it ranks among the five poorest countries in the world, and Cap Anamur has been providing help in the country since 2013. Conflicts between the Islamic coalition ‘Séléka’ and the Christian opposition ‘Anti-balaka’ led to a collapse in public order in 2013. Large parts of the population were cut off from health care.
Providing health care
Cap Anamur’s work in the Central African Republic began with taking on responsibility for the big hospital in Bossembélé in 2013. The hospital, which is located about 160km northwest of the capital Bangui, was in a dilapidated state and could no longer provide adequate care for the roughly 130,000 people living in the region. Health care professionals fleeing the country, a lack of medicine and dilapidated buildings rendered the hospital inoperational. Not only did we need to renovate the hospital, we also needed to make it operational again. Now it has become an exemplary hospital in the region. Our aid workers care for over 45,000 patients in Bossembélé annually. In addition, we are continuously training local personnel. Through our extensive vaccination and awareness campaigns, we contribute to disease prevention.
After we rebuilt the Bossembélé hospital, we took on responsibility for two other hospitals in Boali and Yaloke. All three hospitals lie 80 kilometres apart and are situated along the big link road going from east to west connecting Bangui and Cameroon. The road is the junction for providing health care across the country. Thus, we were able to establish a stable health care network in the Central African Republic.
Due to a greater level of safety in the country these days, we also started supplying both health care centres in Lamby and N’jou, situated on the north-south thoroughfare of Bossembélé, and visited by mobile medical units once a week, in 2016.
Expanding the hospital
As a result of the ongoing fighting, the regional hospital in Bossembélé was not the only building left in a deplorable state. As soon as we could provide medical care for the population again, we began planning constructional measures. First, our architects assessed the state of each building. They wrote an assessment report regarding which buildings merely needed renovating, which ones needed extensive repairs and which ones had to be rebuilt from scratch. Besides renovating the operating theatre including the surgical ward, we planned to expand the paediatric ward by extending the building. Moreover, a pharmacy, a kitchen for patients, an internistic ward, toilets and showers were built. Afterwards, the delivery ward was expanded and power and water supplies were installed.
Building a community
Not only did our presence in the Central African Republic improve the health care system significantly, it also helped the war-torn population to support one another. For example, what started as an amateur football team in our hospital in Bossembélé has now become a regular tournament, in which teams from other towns as well as the police participate.
Our work in the Central African Republic is a valuable contribution to rebuilding the country.