Médecins Sans Frontières maintains its operations in Rutshuru, DRC
Democratic Republic of Congo / 12.07.12
The cholera treatment centre, in Rwanguba, in late June 2012. ©Emily Lynch/MSF
Recent violence is reducing access to health facilities.
Paris, Goma, 10 July 2012 - Fighting resumed in early July in the region of Rutshuru, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, after a brief lull. Rebels of the March 23, 2009 movement (M23) advanced towards the towns of Jomba Chengerero, Rwanguba and Bunagana until they took control of Rutshuru and Kiwanja on Sunday, July 8.
"Some roads are blocked or unsafe and it is difficult for people to access health facilities. There have been significantly less people coming to Rutshuru General Hospital of Reference", says Mickael Le Paih, Head of Mission in North Kivu province.
The teams are very concerned that patients cannot reach the cholera treatment centre in Rwanguba where an outbreak began late May. With the support of a Médecins Sans Frontières emergency team, 753 patients were treated for cholera at the beginning of July - however "the fighting over the last few days has prevented us from being able to provide quality care", explains Mickael Le Paih.
Médecins Sans Frontières calls on belligerents to ensure their access to the population and to maintain unhindered access to health facilities.
“Civilians are once again bearing the brunt of the violence. One of our employees was shot in the leg, this Sunday, during looting in Kiwanja”, reports Mickael Le Paih.
“In addition to the fighting, there are regularly isolated acts of violence and looting throughout the area. This makes it feel like society is disintegrating”, explains Jean Reijs, Médecins Sans Frontières surgeon in Rutshuru General Hospital.
Médecins Sans Frontières maintains its operations in North Kivu and a surgical team is always present in Rutshuru General Hospital where 280 wounded have been treated in the past eight weeks.
The security situation in Rutshuru in recent weeks has also led to significant displacements, inside North Kivu or to neighbouring Rwanda and Uganda, which force an already fragile population to live in extremely poor conditions.
Médecins Sans Frontières is an international medical humanitarian organisation that provides a neutral and impartial medical assistance to victims of conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996. Médecins Sans Frontières operates independently of any political agenda, religious or military.
In North Kivu province in 2011, Médecins Sans Frontières treated more than 404,000 patients, provided care to more than 8,000 malnourished patients, treated over 45,000 people for malaria and conducted more than 15,000 deliveries. In addition, the teams treated nearly 300 patients for trauma due to violence.