One of the priorities of the Bêkou Fund has been to re-establish health services that have been severely affected by the multiple crises that have hit the Central African Republic.
Neonatal, infant and maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the world. The country records 110 deaths for every 1,000 births in the first five years of a child's life. Life expectancy is only 53 years. Malaria, diarrhoeal diseases, acute respiratory infections and malnutrition are the main causes of this extremely high mortality. Since March 2020, the country has also been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to improve the health situation, the supply of medicines and the training of health personnel are considered priorities.
With more than €110 million invested since 2014, the health programme is one of the largest of the Bêkou Fund. Its objective is to ensure that the population has access to quality healthcare. It gives concrete expression to the policy of free healthcare decided by the Central African government by allowing pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as children under the age of 5, to benefit from this care without paying.
Launched at the end of 2014, the Bêkou Fund's health programme has grown over the years. It is currently in its 3rd phase. In order to encourage a long-term response, it works at all levels of the health pyramid, from support to health facilities to the Ministry, including support to a number of health districts and regions.
Support to health facilities
Thanks to the Bêkou Fund, 80 health facilities (FOSA) were supported during the first phase of the health programme. There are now 174, located in 15 of the country's 35 health districts.
“Thanks to this project in several regions, particularly region 6 which is the most depressed - the Bangassou region, the Toua region which was badly shaken - a lot of investments have been made in health facilities (...) so that today, despite the crisis, some key health facilities in these regions have remained intact as if the crisis had not taken place." - Pierre Somse, Minister of Health and Population
Ongoing projects in 2020
- Support for the Bangui paediatric centre
The project is led by the NGOs Médecins avec l'Afrique (CUAMM) and Action Contre la Faim. The Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Pédiatrique de Bangui (CHUPB) is the only pediatric hospital in the Central African Republic. Nearly 163,015 children have come to the CHUPB for consultation since the summer of 2018 and 61,715 have been hospitalised there. The mortality rate of children admitted to the hospital has decreased from 5.8% in 2018 to 5.2% in 2019.
- Support for the Strengthening of the Health System in CAR
The project is implemented by CORDAID. It operates in the three health districts of Bangassou, Ouango-Gambo and Bossangoa. It uses the Performance Based Financing strategy.
- Capacity building of local actors in the health districts of Bimbo and Boda in the management of the health of vulnerable populations
The project is led by the Alliance for International Medical Action (Alima). The NGO is building the capacity of health workers, as Nadège Karo - who works as a midwife and trainer at the hospital in Boda - explains in this video:
- Strengthening the health system in the Vakaga and Haute Kotto prefectures
The project led by International Medical Corps aims to gradually transfer skills and resources to national structures in the prefectures of Haute Kotto and Vakaga. The project has already supported over 220,000 people since July 2018.
- Medico-nutritional assistance for vulnerable populations and strengthening the health system in health region 7 and in the Bamingui-Bangoran prefecture
The NGO Première Urgence Internationale is running two projects, the first in the capital Bangui and the second in the prefecture of Bamingui-Bangoran, in the north of the country.
“Première Urgence has helped us a lot. They train the mothers to prepare the porridge (bouillie in French) properly so that there is no malnutrition (...) They have provided us with medicines. When a child is sick, they are reactive and transfer him directly to their base for treatment.” - Head of NRC site in Ndélé
- Medical assistance for vulnerable populations and strengthening the health system in health region 2
The project is implemented by the French Red Cross. It supports 18 health facilities, i.e. ¼ of the health facilities in the three health districts where it operates.
Support at the meso and macro levels
Beyond the resilience of communities (through support to health facilities), the Bêkou Fund also aims to strengthen the resilience of the state.
Projects underway in 2020
- Strengthening the capacity of Regional and District Health Management Teams - "RECaRThe Italian Cooperation Agency (AICS) is working in 6 health regions. In its first year of implementation, the project has contributed to the reform of the national statistical information system. It also provides regional technical assistants to accompany and coach the civil servants working in the health regions. This proximity to the field is crucial in CAR because of the difficulties of access to the intervention zones.
- Strengthening the health system of the Haut-Mbomou health district in the care of vulnerable populations
As part of the socio-economic recovery programme in the south-eastern zone of CAR - RELSUDE programme - ALIMA is strengthening the capacities of district management teams and health facilities. It intervenes in provinces which, until now, have struggled to benefit from aid due to the security situation.
- Technical assistance to the Ministry
The European Agency for Development and Health (EADS) has provided technical assistance to the Central African Ministry of Health and Population to support it on key issues such as support for the policy of targeted free care, the reform of the National Health Information System and the development of the national health policy.
Response to the Coronavirus pandemic
Preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Central African Republic (CAR) is an imperative in order to ensure that all the efforts made to recover the country since the end of the crisis are not wiped out. Since March 2020, the Bêkou Fund has been committed to the authorities and the population. 2.2 million for health - to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
Thanks to this support, on the ground, the Bêkou Fund's partners :
1. Raise awareness of barrier measures
2. Protecting the population
3. Train and protect health workers
4. Detect and refer cases
5. Strengthen the capacity of civil society organisations.
More information: Factsheet 'The Bêkou Fund's response to the COVID-19 pandemic
40% of the population has access to quality primary health care services
200,000 assisted deliveries
over 4.1 million medical consultations conducted
2.4 million people sensitised to barrier actions (COVID-19).