A silent crisis
The Minister on Health of the Central African Republic meets with Health Action in Crisis staff and requests WHO assistance in combating extremely high maternal mortality ratios in the context of the ongoing humanitarian crisis in the country.
On 12 January, the Minister of Health of the Central African Republic met with the WHO Health Action in Crisis team to forward concerns related to the health aspects of the crisis currently prevailing in his country. The UN has described the current situation in the Central African Republic as "the world's most silent crisis".
The Minister of Health raised three major concerns relating to the crisis, for which WHO support is desperately needed:
- Ensure the strengthening of health systems through improving emergency obstetric care services. The maternal mortality ratio is worryingly high in Central African Republic and estimated to be close to 1100 maternal deaths per 100 000 births. The Ministry of Health is recognizing that a radical improvement of emergency obstetric care services is needed and considers this a gateway to the strengthening the entire national health system.
To further these efforts, the Ministry requests WHO assistance in equipping hospitals to better be able to perform emergency obstetric care services; and in training of health professionals in emergency obstetric care.
WHO appreciates the graveness of the situation and will work to raise international awareness on the great needs for the improvement of women health in the Central African Republic.
- Strengthen the disease surveillance and response system.
The existing network of laboratories for disease surveillance in Central African Republic is seriously weakened after the recent conflict and the ongoing instability. In order to be able to detect and respond timely to outbreaks, this network would need to be strengthened in human resources and skills, laboratory reagents and other supplies, as well as communication equipment.
WHO will work on the possibilities for the setting up of an Early Warning and Response Network (EWARN) system in Central African Republic.
- Emergency preparedness and response.
WHO Health Action in Crisis is, through the Three-Year Program, working to improve emergency preparedness and response at country level. Under this programme, the Central African Republic is one of the priority countries and WHO has allocated resources for a full-time professional to be posted at the WHO Country Office to develop and implement a national emergency preparedness and response plan.