Resuscitating the Central African Republic’s Healthcare

In May, Dr. Jean Chrysostome Gody congratulated the first-ever class of pediatricians to graduate from the country’s only medical school. The hospital has just opened a new multimillion-dollar malnutrition wing, doubling the number of beds and offering clean rooms with fresh paint and new mosquito nets. More patients than ever are coming through the doors — a sign not that more children are sick, Dr. Gody said, but rather that word finally is spreading that treatment there is free. Nearly seven years ago, Muslim rebels fed up with a lack of government services in rural areas — basics like schools, roads and hospitals — invaded the capital and clashed with Christian militias in fighting that slid toward genocide, the United Nations said at the time. Forty percent of the nation’s health budget is supported by international funds, said Dr. Pierre Somse, who is minister of health. A vaccination program that required cooperation from militias has succeeded in immunizing 74 percent of children, Dr. Somse said. And a new program has been created to offer free care to pregnant mothers and children under 5, based on Dr. Gody’s model at the pediatric hospital.SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

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