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People Of CAR Remain Cut Off From Health Services 2 Months After Rebel Coup

“Rebels and bandits in Central African Republic (CAR) have ransacked clinics and forced medical staff to flee, leaving tens of thousands of children at risk as the rainy season approaches, an international health charity has warned,” Thomson Reuters Foundation reports. “Two thirds of CAR’s population — 3.2 million people — remains cut off from health services more than two months after rebels seized control of the chronically unstable country in a March 24 coup,” the news service notes. “Arvind Das, country director at aid group Merlin, said thousands of children were dying as a result of the insecurity because their families could not get medical help and did not have enough food,” the news service notes, adding, “He said around 300,000 people were displaced in the southeast where many people had spent months hiding in the bush. Malnutrition, measles and malaria are major concerns.”

“Das said they were particularly worried that more people would fall sick with malaria in the coming weeks because of the higher risk of infection during the rainy season which lasts until July/August,” the news service writes (Batha, 6/12). “More than 15,000 people living with HIV in [CAR] had their life-prolonging antiretroviral (ARV) treatment interrupted as a result of the instability before, during and after the 24 March coup by the Séléka rebel group,” IRIN notes, adding non-governmental organizations (NGOs) “are now struggling to ensure these people resume their regimens to reduce the risk of illness, drug resistance and death.” The news service writes, “Interrupting HIV treatment can have dangerous consequences, including speeding up progression to AIDS and drug resistance, which requires patients to be placed on more expensive second- and third-line therapies” (6/12).