Bangui Paediatric Centre
60% of patients arrive in a critical condition.
EMERGENCY’s Paediatric Centre in the capital of the Central African Republic, Bangui, has been operational since 2009 and offers healthcare services and educational activities for children up to 14 years of age. Open 24 hours a day, the centre is located opposite the Parliament of the Central African Republic, in a compound made available by local authorities. EMERGENCY’s paediatricians and nurses provide free, high-quality outpatient services to children in need, while the most serious cases are admitted to the 8-bed inpatient ward. An antenatal care programme also operates from the centre: a midwife is available 5 days a week to visit pregnant women and provide family planning advice. More than 100 children and 20 pregnant women visit the Paediatric Centre each day. The outpatient departments and wards are always full, as is the semi-permanent shelter that was erected in the hospital garden at the height of the conflict to provide extra beds.
Around 60% of patients arrive at the centre in a critical condition, either due to the long and complicated journeys they have made to reach the hospital or because they have already been treated using the ‘traditional’ healing that is ubiquitous throughout the country, especially in more rural areas. In 2017, we treated 18,500 children. 80% were under five years of age. 68% had malaria.
As of June 2019, our Bangui Paediatric Centre has seen 195,301 outpatient consultations and 59,651 antenatal care consultations. 1,368 patients attended due to cardiac complaints. A total of 13,145 patients have been admitted.
Collaboration and Training
Malaria, serious infections, and typhoid fever were widespread before the start of the war, but food shortages and harsher living conditions have made it even easier to fall ill. Insecurity convinces many mothers to put off the journey to hospital as long as possible. Thanks to European Union funding, in October of 2014 we began collaborating with a local NGO that manages small healthcare centres throughout the country; training local medical staff in triage, urgent primary care, and onward transfer to hospitals in Bangui. In June of 2016 we collaborated with the Central African Red Cross’ University Paramedic Training Institute, to provide practical training to second- and third-year nursing students. Educating local medical professionals and contributing to the autonomy of national healthcare systems is an integral part of all EMERGENCY projects.
Now that standards of treatment have improved at Bangui’s Complexe Pédiatrique – part of the national health service – we have been able to reorganise activities at our Paediatric Centre so that these do not overlap with those of the public hospital. As of last September, the Paediatric Centre has been dedicated solely to treating chronically ill patients, who suffer largely from sickle cell anaemia, asthma, nephrotic syndrome, epilepsy, diabetes, or heart disease. Acute patients are kept under close observation and stabilised in our centre, prior to transfer to the public Complexe Pédiatrique. A local obstetrician is present five days a week to see pregnant women and monitor their pregnancies. We continue to run vaccination and antenatal programmes for children and women, as well as prenatal and family planning advice services.
Our collaboration with the National Blood Bank in Bangui (Centre Nationale de Transfusion Sanguine) continues, and we organise regular campaigns to educate the local population on the importance of blood donation. Blood bags are tested and then provided to any hospital in the country that requests them. Each year, approximately 19,000 bags are collected. Almost all of these are used in life-saving treatments; more than half of which are for children under five years of age. To date, the National Blood Bank has distributed 78,526 blood bags. As a result of this collaborative effort, the availability of safe blood in hospitals and medical facilities has increased.
The Bangui Paediatric Centre is part of the ‘Regional Programme for Cardiac Surgery’ that EMERGENCY is actively promoting across the African continent. The programme involves a network of medical facilities in which our international team of cardiologists carry out screenings of paediatric and adult patients and, where necessary, organise for transfers to our Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Khartoum, Sudan. This is part of EMERGENCY’s African Network of Medical Excellence (ANME), an innovative model of humanitarian healthcare which has been established to develop centres of medical excellence across the continent and thus broaden access to free, high-quality care.
The Bangui Paediatric Centre is co-funded by the European Union (Delegation to the Central African Republic)
Start of clinical activities: March 2009
Activities: Paediatrics, paediatric first aid, prenatal assistance.
Facilities: 3 paediatric clinics, obstetric clinic, radiology, laboratory, pharmacy, ward, stockroom, offices, services, welcome and outdoor play area, technical and support services.
Observation beds: 8
Local staff members: 41
Outpatient consultations: 195,301
Cardiological consultations: 1,463
Antenatal care consultations: 59,651
Blood bags distributed: 85,864
(Data correct as of December 2019)