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Ten Facts About Life Expectancy in the Central African Republic
The Central African Republic is home to around 4.8 million people. Due to its civil unrest, this country also has one of the lowest life expectancies in the world and is in a state of crisis. Here are the top 10 facts about the life expectancy in the Central African Republic that reflect the current quality of life, as well as the steps set for future improvement.

Ten Facts About Life Expectancy in the Central African Republic

1. As of 2018, the average life expectancy in the Central African Republic is 53 years, which gives it a ranking of 217 out of 224 countries. The average male life expectancy is 51.7 years, while the average female life expectancy female is slightly higher at 54.4 years.

2. After winning independence from France in 1960, the Central African Republic suffered decades of political instability. In early 2018, more than 18,000 citizens of the Central African Republic fled fighting in their homeland to take refuge in neighboring Chad. The violence and displacement of these people are some of the main causes of the low life expectancy. As of 2016, more than half of the population was in need of food and the violence had killed thousands. The fighting also forced Muslims to flee their homes in the Christian-majority country.

3. Although the average life expectancy seems despairingly low, the Central African Republic has made improvements in its overall health over the past few years. After the persistent military crisis, the country’s overall life expectancy dropped to a low of 43 years in 2007. Luckily, after President Francois Bozize signed peace pacts with two rebel groups, the Central African Republic was able to tackle more of its own political, economic and social conditions, contributing to a dramatic rise in life expectancy.

4. The leading causes of death in the Central African Republic include HIV/AIDS, influenza, pneumonia and diarrheal diseases. According to the World Health Organization, HIV/AIDS deaths in the Central African Republic account for 13 percent of total deaths in the country. Influenza and pneumonia deaths make up 11 percent of deaths while diarrheal diseases account for around eight percent of deaths.

5. The life expectancy does not account for the fact that an estimated 14.4 percent of the average life is spent in poor health. While diseases account for a high proportion of deaths, poor nutrition is one of the main causes of early decline. Years of conflict have reduced the mobility of populations, which in turn has hindered people’s ability to grow crops, buy food and access health care. “Most of the people live on less than $1 a day. There is little food. Even cassava, the most basic foodstuff in the local diet, is often scarce”, said Dr. Deus Bazira from the World Health Organization. Pregnant women and children are often the most vulnerable individuals and are most susceptible to malnutrition.

6. Throughout the country, there is currently an extreme water and hygiene crisis. Sixty-eight percent of the rural population lacks access to clean and safe water, which increases the risk of diarrheal diseases and otherwise preventable water-borne diseases.

7. Areas outside of Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, have limited health care. Much of the population faces poorly equipped and understaffed clinics in the countryside. Bangui itself has only one major hospital, which is limited in care. The distribution of medicine is also difficult due to the lack of transportation.

8. Since 2016, the country is working to improve its overall health with a new trajectory under the leadership of the government. The Central African Republic plans to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable groups, such as those with disabilities, children, pregnant women and malnourished patients. “This new commitment to improving the health and nutrition of the poorest and most vulnerable will help ease the poverty that stymies the Central African Republic’s growth and unlock its economic potential,” said Mariam Claeson, Director of the Global Financing Facility.

9. On January 7, 2019, the U.N. worked with the Central African Republic to launch the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan. This operation requested around $430 million to provide humanitarian assistance to 1.7 million people this year, a major step in improving health conditions throughout the country.

10. Although providing humanitarian aid is difficult due to security and logistical constraints, international operations and organizations are assisting the Central African Republic through its current crisis. The International Rescue Committee and The European Union’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO) are examples of major strides to offer medical care, water and sanitation services and protection for people in high-risk areas.

These 10 facts about life expectancy in the Central African Republic provide insight into the progress made and steps needed to improve the quality of life in the country. Although the state of health remains unstable, with relief agencies working to assist conflict-affected populations, the Central African Republic will hopefully continue to increase its life expectancy over the next few years.

– Malini Nayak
Photo: Flickr

Central African RepublicThe Central African Republic has been the scene of years of conflicts and violence since 2012, which has left thousands of people without access to clean water. Armed forces decided to use water spots, known as wells, as graves for those who died during the conflicts, leading to the contamination of the water and impacting the health of the population.

Access to clean water has always been a problem in the Central African Republic, but the conflict affecting the region has multiplied the issue and the number of affected people. Around 70 percent of the country’s population suffers from lack of safe drinking water and adequate sanitary conditions, a percentage that translates to around 2.2 million people, according to the global humanitarian organization Concern.

An issue that the country needs to address is the lack of water pipes available and the poor conditions of roads which make it extremely difficult for remote populations to bring water to their community. One solution to this problem was the idea to drill wells, but this requires funds and technical expertise for mechanized drills, that isn’t readily available. Fortunately, Concern found a way to create these wells without the use of mechanized drills. They decided to gather people of the community and have them work together to manually drill the wells. While mechanized drills rely on electricity, these drills, known as “village drills”, are built by the people. Not only is this innovation less financially burdensome, but it is also an efficient way to enable the transportation of water to remote areas.

Concern has been providing aid to Central African Republic communities since May of 2014 and has reached thousands of people so far. Humanitarian organizations such as Concern can become keys actors in finding innovations that can help poor regions. Through their work, they showed that people and societies can be brought to work together, as a community, to help improve their lives.

Sarah Soutoul
Photo: Flickr

Central African Republic ConflictSince 1960, when the Central African Republic gained its independence from France, different armed conflicts have emerged in the country, principally fights for political power. However, in this decade, a confrontation between two different religious groups and the government has led to an environment of constant violence, forcing many people to leave their homes. These are 10 key facts about the Central Africa Republic conflict that you need to know.

  1. The Central African Republic conflict began in 2012 when the Seleka, a Muslim rebel coalition, attacked different cities in the country in order to overthrow the regime of President Francoise Bozizé.
  2. The main opposition group to the Seleka is the coalition known as Anti-Balaka, formed principally by Christian fighters.
  3. In 2014, Seleka rebels and Anti-Balaka forces agreed to a tentative ceasefire agreement.
  4. The Central African Republic conflict started again in 2015 when the government rejected the agreement by Seleka and Anti-Balaka forces.
  5. The Central African Republic conflict has displaced 466,000 people, who are now refugees in other countries.
  6. Since 2013, when the conflict started, more than 935,000 people have been internally displaced and about 60 percent of them are children.
  7. It is estimated that 3,000 to 6,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
  8. According to the U.N., nearly 2.5 million people are facing hunger in the country.
  9. Reports by human rights groups and the United Nations suggest crimes have been committed by both Seleka and Anti-Balaka.
  10. Different allegations of sexual abuse have been made by the United Nations, making the conflict worse inside the country.

Several organizations, principally the United Nations, are working in the country in order to end the conflict. However, the conflict is still ongoing, creating a wave of violence that has resulted in thousands of refugees, deaths and political uncertainty.

Dario Ledesma

Photo: Flickr

Central African Republic Poverty Rate
The Central African Republic is among the poorest countries in the world. In 2017, the country had the lowest reported GDP per capita, at $656, and the average person lives on less than $1.80 per day. The Central African Republic’s poverty rate is among the highest in the world, with 62 percent of citizens living on less than $1.90 per day when the data was last taken.

The incredible poverty rate is due to a variety of factors, perhaps none more important than the Central African Republic’s history as part of the French Empire. As a country rich in natural resources that have been in demand throughout history, the Central African Republic has been exploited by western nations from the beginning of the Age of Imperialism to the modern day.

Internal conflict has worsened the problems originally begun by western imperialism. Since the Central African Republic gained independence in 1960, the major Christian and Muslim factions in the country have rarely ceased in-fighting. Alongside religious rivalries, multiple ethnic groups and political ideologies have contributed to widespread violence and instability throughout the country.

Longstanding political instability has led to a severe lack of development, one of the greatest reasons behind the abysmal Central African Republic’s poverty rate. Widespread poverty has allowed the country to wallow in incredibly low rates of development for years, ranking 179th out of 187 countries.

In a population of just over four million people, nearly 370,000 children will grow up without one or both of their parents, and more than 50 percent of the population can neither read nor write. Almost five percent of the population carries HIV/AIDS, one of the highest rates in the world.

Numerous groups worldwide are providing necessary aid to the Central African Republic, but many focus on providing emergency relief. While any and all aid is needed throughout the country, short-term solutions do little to assuage the Central African Republic’s poverty rate. In order to provide a long-term solution to poverty, the International Rescue Committee is, alongside emergency aid and health services, creating programs that help both men and women receive education and set up businesses. This program will allow Central Africans take the first steps out of poverty themselves.

Connor S. Keowen

Photo: Flickr

Clean WaterEach year, 289,000 children under the age of five die due to diseases caused by poor water quality and sanitation. This means that one child dies every two minutes and 800 children die per day because they do not have access to clean water or proper sanitation.

On August 29, UNICEF made a statement that declared that access to clean water is a right – not a privilege – and that in countries facing conflict or instability, clean water must be made a priority. The lack of clean water and sanitation is particularly alarming in areas that are in the middle of conflicts; more than 180 million people in crisis-ridden areas do not have access to clean drinking water.

To ensure that children are given their rights to clean water and sanitation, UNICEF has developed an initiative called WASH, which stands for water, sanitation and hygiene. Their goal is to achieve universal access to sanitation, hygiene and safe drinking water by 2030. Through a team that works in more than 100 countries, UNICEF has been able to provide close to 14 million people with clean water and more than 11 million with toilets.

UNICEF is not the only group working to improve access to clean water and sanitation. Pure Water for the World is a nonprofit organization that works closely with underserved communities in Central America and the Caribbean, which gives residents the resources and knowledge to be involved in water projects in their communities. In their 18 years of existence, they have reached more than 750,000 people in Haiti and Central America with solutions to water, sanitation and hygiene problems. Pure Water for the World seeks local and international volunteers and donations to keep the organization running.

Water for Good specifically targets the Central African Republic in its efforts to increase access to clean water and sanitation. They use local businesses for supplies and resources to start sustainable water programs, with over 90 percent of them being functional long after Water for Good has done their part.

Charity: Water is another nonprofit organization that provides clean water to struggling populations. They rely on private donors to fund their operation costs, so all of the money donated to Charity: Water goes directly into funding water projects. The company also follows up each water project with a detailed report of its results and locations, so donors can know exactly where their money has gone.
All of these nonprofits are working toward UNICEF’s ultimate goal – to have worldwide equal access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene for children – which is, as UNICEF states, not a privilege, but a right.

Téa Franco

Photo: Flickr

Causes of Poverty in Central African Republic

The Central African Republic is one of the world’s least developed countries. The country has been economically unstable since achieving its independence from France in 1960. Aid from wealthier countries is often only enough to satisfy a few humanitarian needs. Causes of poverty in Central African Republic include poor agricultural and geographic conditions and an expensive, poorly-constructed medical system.

Agriculture is an extensive source of stress, making it one of the larger causes of poverty in Central African Republic. Their economy is based on the cultivation and sale of crops, such as yams, maize and millet. Around 67 percent of total income is from agricultural production for the rural poor.

The nation runs on export trade; however, it is difficult to develop enough revenue because CAR is a landlocked country. This leaves farmers with little to no opportunities for growth in the agricultural sector. Only 4 percent of arable land is used each year because of the lack of opportunity for exportation. Subsistence farming dominates for many communities. Additionally, one-third of all children under the age of five are underdeveloped and suffering from chronic malnutrition.

There is a sizeable demand for medical services in CAR; however, this demand remains unmet, and citizens of the Central African Republic are suffering. The unequal distribution of medical staff throughout the country is astounding. In 2004, there were estimates that there were no more than three physicians and nine nurses per 100,000 people.

HIV, malaria, hepatitis-A and rabies are the most common diseases in CAR, putting people in fatal situations without proper treatment. Treatment for these diseases is expensive, putting the families of these patients in financial strain. This compels them to give up other necessities, such as food. Preventative measures are often too expensive. The burden of disease is caused by a lack of preventative measures, and it pushes families deeper into poverty.

Some of the causes of poverty in Central African Republic cannot be fixed, such as their relative location to the coast, which affects the amount of exportation. However, other issues have the potential for change. The health care system, for example, can become more accessible, especially for rural communities. Accessible in two ways, one being that there can be a larger number of clinics throughout the country with more physicians per 100,000 people. The other way to become more accessible is for treatment and preventative methods to become free. There is still hope for citizens of the Central African Republic.

Lucy Voegeli

Photo: Flickr

 

Common Diseases in the Central African RepublicThe Central African Republic is a nation with a long history of political turmoil and humanitarian crises. It is also consistently named among the poorest nations in the world and has some of the worst global health indicators. The country has the sixth-highest infant mortality rate and the third-highest maternal mortality rate in the world. As recently as 2013, a major crisis displaced over 25 percent of the population and almost collapsed the nation’s already precarious health system. Although it seems as if the CAR is finally able to stabilize its political situation—for the first time in its history, the nation has a democratically-elected president and parliament—endemic poverty and poor health infrastructure coupled with a tropical climate makes disease a major problem. Here are four of the most common diseases in the Central African Republic:

  1. Malaria: The mosquito-spread disease is endemic to the Central African Republic. Malaria infects a large portion of the population at least once a year. It accounts for 40 percent of all medical consultations and is the leading cause of death amongst children. Malaria is the primary public health issue and one of the most common diseases in the Central African Republic. Many international organizations, in partnership with the government, have attempted to carry out projects such as free treatment for children under five and mosquito netting distributions to curb the effect of the disease in the nation.
  2. HIV/AIDS: The CAR has one of the highest rates of HIV in Central and Western Africa. At 4.9 percent, and is one of the most common diseases in the Central African Republic. People in urban areas, especially women, are at the highest risk of contracting the disease. Due to constant conflict and political turmoil, treatment is often hard to find. Organizations such as the UNHCR help diagnose and provide treatment, but they often suffer in conflict situations. In the 2013 crisis, looters descended on several facilities.
  3. Cholera: In 2016, the medical community panicked at reports of a cholera outbreak in the Central African Republic. Cholera is an acute diarrhoeal disease caused by ingestion of contaminated food or water. After the latest humanitarian crisis in 2013, thousands of people were displaced and access to clean water became very limited. This led to a breeding ground for cholera and its ensuing spread throughout the country. UNICEF and other organizations quickly mobilized to contain the outbreak.
  4. Tuberculosis: Tuberculosis (TB) is a highly infectious bacterial disease that affects the lungs and spreads easily in crowded spaces. Over the past decades, TB has been on the rise in the Central African Republic. The forced displacement of large swathes of the population due to constant ongoing crisis often disrupts treatment and prevention operations. Tuberculosis is also a leading killer of HIV-positive people. In 2012, there were 8,084 reported cases of TB—a 44 percent increase from the year before.

The tropical climate of the Central African Republic means it is already a hotspot for contagious and infectious diseases; a precarious health system coupled with endemic poverty makes matters even worse. Although many international organizations have made a concerted effort to address these issues, the constant political conflict and instability make it extremely hard for them to properly do their job. The international community should help the CAR by not only providing medical aid and supplies, but also helping it build a stable government that will properly handle these issues.

Alan Garcia-Ramos

Photo: Flickr


In the heart of Africa surrounded by Cameroon, Chad, and Sudan, the Central African Republic is rich in diversity, culture and resources. However, despite holding some of the world’s most valued natural reserves, including gold, diamonds, and oil, the Central African Republic is in a dire humanitarian crisis. Human rights in the Central African Republic are being violated at a high rate. However, aid agencies are working to eliminate these abuses.

This crisis erupted in 2012 when economic inequalities and ethnic tensions incited conflict. The violence is coming from two opposing non-governmental armed groups: the Seleka and the Anti-Balaka.

Under the control of these combat groups, many human rights in the Central African Republic have been compromised. These groups have attacked civilians, committed sexual assault and demolished villages. There have been more than 560 civilian deaths and upwards of 4,200 homes destroyed. This is likely a fraction of the full damage because of the lack or destruction of records.

With 1.2 million children affected, the worst human rights violation in the Central African Republic is against children. Nearly one in five children is a refugee or is internally displaced. This violence and displacement have resulted in one-third out of school, 41 percent under the age of five suffering from chronic malnutrition and up to 10,000 recruited by armed groups since 2013.

Despite these circumstances, there is optimism in the fight for human rights in the Central African Republic. In 2016, aid officials met in Brussels to discuss recovery plans, budgets and other efforts to help the crisis. At this meeting, the officials decided that the primary objective besides providing emergency relief should be building a foundation of basic social services, such as schools and clinics, to encourage a peaceful future.

Keeping to this plan, UNICEF trained more than 1,300 teachers as well as built and repaired 172 schools. UNICEF has also initiated projects to enhance primary healthcare, as well as expand access to clean water, sanitation, and education, and offer psychosocial care for children traumatized by violent experiences.

While human rights in the Central African Republic are in need of improvement, aid agencies are focusing their efforts on building a better future for this nation, hoping that the children who have witnessed these tragedies can build the solution.

Kelly Hayes

Photo: Flickr


Conflicts in the Central African Republic have had devastating effects on the country’s civilians, particularly the civil war that began in 2012. The healthcare system has become less effective as qualified doctors and nurses move to safer areas, and aid is often denied due to unsafe commuting conditions. Along with a one-third decrease in qualified medical staff, clean water supplies are becoming scarce because water leaks cannot be easily repaired. Due to an unstable healthcare system and less access to clean water and food, many diseases are becoming more prominent among Central African Republic’s population. Below are two of the top diseases in the Central African Republic that are causing some of the highest mortality rates for both children and adults.

Malaria

Malaria is not only one of the deadliest diseases in the Central African Republic but is the top fatal disease the world. Malaria is responsible for more than eight percent of total deaths in the country and 32.8 percent of deaths in children under five years old. This number has dramatically risen in direct correlation to the increase in malnutrition. The Central African Republic civil war has detrimentally affected healthcare, making malaria more widespread but less treatable. The war has forced civilians out of their homes, leaving them without shelter and protection against mosquito bites, and resulting in the destruction of 70 percent of existing medical centers.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) is combating malaria, and many of the top diseases in the Central African Republic, by bringing aid in the form of treatments and shelters, particularly, mosquito nets to prevent the spread of malaria. The aim is to reach 80 percent of Central African Republic’s civilians with aid in order to control the malaria problem. However, many locations are simply difficult to reach and the civil war only complicates this. MSF has designed mobile treatment facilities to treat a wider range of people.

HIV/AIDS

HIV/AIDS is a major problem in the Central African Republic, and is ranked number nine on the world’s most fatal diseases list. This disease affects 15 percent of adults, most of whom are young women. Not only is the afflicted person severely affected by the disease, but many children have been orphaned by an infected parent or abandoned by their family for contracting HIV/AIDS. The Central African Republic has one of the highest rates of mother-to-child HIV transmission in the world.

The World Bank’s Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program has provided more than $18 million to African nations since 2001 to combat this disease. This has helped to supply medical centers with proper medicine, such as ARV, which prevents mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In addition, Wold Bank aid has helped provide vaccines, educational services and mobile services to reach more isolated areas. This funding, however, is limited and not sufficient in reaching all patients in need of treatment. Many patients have also become resistant to the primary drug that is being used for treatment, and additional funding is needed to develop new and effective medicine.

Although these top diseases in the Central African Republic have had detrimental effects on its civilians, there are many forms of aid and organizations that are determined to decrease their crippling effects.

Miryam Wiggli

Photo: Flickr

Education in theEducation in the Central African Republic
In 2016, militiamen in the Central African Republic began setting up base at schools and preventing students from attending classes. In September, the U.N. responded by ordering the militia groups to vacate the schools, threatening to send in forces if they didn’t comply. The U.N.’s goal was to enable children to resume their education in the Central African Republic.

The Central African Republic, a land-locked nation of 5 million people, was thrown into a brutal civil war when its government was forced out in 2013 by Muslim Seleka rebels. According to the national post, the civil war has led to the country being ranked 187 out of 188 countries on the human development index.

According to the U.N., 10,000 children in the Central African Republic were kept from school due to the presence of militiamen. About a third of all schools in the country were either set on fire, shot by bullets, pillaged or occupied by armed groups. As a result, approximately 400 primary schools were shut down.

The U.N. took a firm stand against the militia and issued a statement known as “Minusca,” which mandated that no armed forces go within 1,650 feet of schools and warned against further interference in education in the Central African Republic.

UNICEF also denounced the militia groups’ behavior. UNICEF’s Chief of Communications in the Central African Republic, Donaig Le Du, issued a firm statement that despite the conflict and civil war occurring, education in the Central African Republic should be spared. School is not politically affiliated or party to the conflict, she said, and children should not be prevented from attending.

Despite disruption in areas near Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, children across the country returned back to school to resume their educations at the end of September as a result of the U.N.’s warning.

The U.N. recently reported that since the civil war broke out in the Central African Republic, “considerable progress” has been made. Ten thousand U.N. troops and 1,700 police are keeping peace as well between armed groups, and an additional 12,000 peacekeepers are stationed in the country. Although the state of the nation remains fragile, it is in a better place overall than it was in 2013.

Alex Fidler