This city and this country are unpredictable. After days on maximum alert, today the situation seemed calmer: lots of soldiers on the streets and more cars around.
This relative “quiet” meant we were able to get out of the city and see what was happening in one of the refugee camps. We never know what to expect from one day to the next, so as soon as there’s any sign of stability we make the most of it to understand the needs outside the city; in some camps, the presence of health personnel isn’t always possible for safety reasons.
As soon as our car approached the camp, hordes of children began running towards us. We examined around a hundred of them, many suffering from malaria, pneumonia and gastrointestinal infections. We always come across the same serious illnesses, so common here: it’s hard not to get ill if you haven’t got a roof over your head, or a mosquito net, or running water. Yesterday’s heavy rains didn’t help things either.
There were more patients today at the Paediatric Centre too. Amongst them, male twins born just a few days ago – one with pneumonia and the other neonatal sepsis. As we watch them breathe with such difficulty in their beds, we can’t help thinking there’s no free neonatal care in this country – in the entire country.
– Ombretta, coordinator of Emergency’s work in the Central African Republic