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Ivory Coast: as violence escalates, MSF increases medical support
Following the recent escalation of violence related to the political crisis in Ivory Coast, MSF is reinforcing its medical assistance in several locations. The medical humanitarian aid organisation is also donating medicines and supplies to health facilities partly because the freezing of Ivoirian banking assets has lead to a shortage of money to buy medicines.
Mego Terzian, MSF Emergency Desk Manager, says: “the supply system for medicines is seriously impeded by the paralysis of the banking system. Medical structures risk running short of medical supplies in the coming weeks.”
Assistance to displaced people
Following post-electoral tension and violence, MSF has been present in Ivory Coast since the end of December 2010. In the western part of the country, MSF is providing assistance to displaced people. In a six-week period, MSF carried out 4,115 healthcare consultations in a makeshift camp in Dukoué, where more than 12,000 internally displaced Ivorians have gathered. MSF teams have carried out 789 consultations in the commune of Kokoma, Dukoué district, since February 5. MSF also organizes the transfer of patients to Dukoué hospital, where an MSF surgical team has treated 67 patients. An MSF logistical team has renovated the hospital’s operating theatre.
Support to city hosptials
Two international medical staff will reinforce the team currently on the ground to assess the needs in the city hospitals of Danané, Bangolo and Man, in western Ivory Coast and on the region of Ben Houen and Zouan Gnen. MSF will evaluate the needs in terms of medical supplies and staff, and specific medical care for wounded people.
“At the end of last year, we already donated medical supplies to Danané hospital to treat wounded people”, explains Marie-Christine Férir, MSF Emergency Desk Manager. “Yesterday, this hospital received 10 wounded patients. Three died from their injuries.”
Refugees fleeing to Liberia
Tens of thousands of Ivorians have sought refuge from post-election violence on the other side of the border, in the county of Nimba, Liberia. In the past few days, thousands of new refuges have crossed the border, fleeing when they heard shooting. Since January, MSF has been running mobile clinics in several localities of the county, and it is now planning to reinforce its capacity to provide medical assistance in the region. A medical team is also present in the UN refugee camp of Bahn. The team screens the medical status of the refugees registering, vaccinates children under 15 against measles, and provides medicines and technical support to the Bahn health centre.
MSF opened its first project in Ivory Coast in 1991. Until 2007, MSF teams were working in MACA prison in Abidjan, in the hospital of Bouaké city, as well as in the western regions in the hospitals of Danané, Man, Bangolo, Zouan Hounien. MSF withdrew in September 2007, when the situation in the country had stabilized.