* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
REFUGEES fleeing violence in the Central African Republic have started receiving vital hygiene supplies and medicine, after distributions by global children’s charity Plan International.
Nearly 85,000 people have crossed the border into Cameroon where Plan is operating.
UNHCR figures suggest 80 per cent of all refugees are suffering from serious illnesses including diarrhea, anaemia and respiratory infections.
Many children are malnourished and have medical complications.
“About half the refugees are children, including unaccompanied minors and teenager mothers,” says Famari Barro, Plan’s Country Director in Cameroon.
“The children are very vulnerable. Many are suffering from severe malnutrition which can often develop into serious complications.”
More than 2,000 families have received hygiene kits from Plan, which contain soap, sanitary towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste and a bucket.
Boreholes are being built which are providing urgently needed water in the refugee sites. Plan is also in the process of constructing latrines and child-friendly spaces.
“Another critical issue is the unavailability to drugs to treat children,” says Mr Barro.
“Hospital capacity is stretched as there are an overwhelming number of sick children with very limited number of health personnel,” he adds.
Malaria prevention and treatment drugs have been distributed to four health centres by Plan, as well as medicine to treat other infectious diseases.
For more information on Plan’s work or to make a donation call 0800 526 848 or visit www.plan-uk.org