APO

Central African Republic: Children Traumatized by Violence Face Their Fear and Anger

Published

on

The latest clashes in the Central African Republic began in December 2020. They involve armed groups and government forces and have forced more than 180,000 people to flee their homes in search of a semblance of safety.

Some live in camps for displaced people near the city of Kaga-Bandoro. But whether they have just arrived or have been here for months, or even years, everyone in these camps shares the same painful experiences.

The stories of pillage, rape, and summary execution are endless and they are all similar. We hear them from men and women, and also from children who, like their parents, have a real need for psychological support.

In addition to losing their home environment, many of these children have been deeply affected by what they have experienced or witnessed. Many have lost family or friends.

Fabrice (13) had to watch helplessly as his brother was killed in 2019. “They shot my brother. He fell. He lay dying on the ground. It hurts when I think of him. I sleep very badly. I have a lot of nightmares. “

In a country where psychiatric services are virtually non-existent (there is only one practicing psychiatrist in the entire Central African Republic), and the health system suffers from chronic underfunding, traditional healers, marabouts and shamans are the usual choice when it’s about treating psychological trauma. Parents turn to these professionals when their child suffers from nightmares or images they cannot shake, when deep depression causes them to avoid friends, or when they pass out for reasons their families cannot understand.

Romaric Debas, volunteer for the Central African Red Cross: “The most common emotions are fear, sadness and anger. Some children are very sad and some even refuse to speak ”.

Since 2014, ICRC mental health specialists in the Kaga-Bandoro region have been in dialogue with traditional healers and parents to convince them that the traditional approach and “modern” treatment can be complementary. Healers now send children to the ICRC, either immediately, without acting themselves, or when a child’s condition does not improve despite their rituals.

In all cases, the goal is to improve the child, respecting everyone’s beliefs. When the parents give their consent, the ICRC therapists can go to work.

By answering a questionnaire, parents provide the information necessary to assess the psychological state of their child. Psychological support is provided once a week in the camps for displaced persons, with the help of volunteers from the Central African Red Cross, either in groups or with individual children.

Therapists use stories, pictures, breathing exercises, or just the spoken word during individual sessions at Kaga-Bandoro Hospital.

Karine (10) has been deeply affected by the forced displacement of her family and the recent death of her mother. She tells us that talking to the therapy team has helped: “I went to see the Red Cross people and they consoled me. I no longer have nightmares. I can have fun with the other children. “

Parents are always involved in therapy. The ICRC establishes an oral contract with them, allowing their therapists to monitor the child’s progress. On average, therapy lasts three months. More than 550 children in the three Kaga-Bandoro displacement camps received therapy in 2020.

The needs remain enormous, so none of the children affected by the most recent displacement have so far been able to receive psychological support. But the results are encouraging. Parents living in the city start contacting the ICRC to ask the organization to care for their children.

ICRC President Peter Maurer was in Kaga-Bandoro on February 11 to personally see the results of the mental health program. “When we started to think about a more holistic approach to health problems, we started talking about psychological problems, the kinds of mental health problems that people are exposed to during war. I am very encouraged to see that the first programs are already underway. Because it is true that in the past perhaps we paid too much attention to physical appearance. We saw the physical wounds and treated them. But we didn’t see the invisible. “

The ICRC hopes that the Central African government can begin to provide adequate mental health services in the not too distant future, if stability and development replace violence.3 So that Central African society, both children and adults, can finally overcome its deep psychological crisis. trauma.

NNN

NNN: :is a Nigerian online news portal that publishes breaking news in Nigeria, and across the world. Our journalists are honest, fair, accurate, thorough and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news in the best interest of the public, because truth is the cornerstone of journalism and they strive diligently to ascertain the truth in every news report. Contact: editor[at]nnn.com.ng

Coronavirus – Ghana: COVID-19 patients on admission receive WHO dignity kits Coronavirus: Côte d’Ivoire becomes the second African country and the first French-speaking country to receive doses of vaccine via the COVAX Facility UNHCR requests $ 164 million for displaced Central Africans Coronavirus – Uganda: COVID-19 update (February 25, 2021) Coronavirus – Nigeria: COVID-19 update (February 25, 2021) Coronavirus – Malawi: COVID-19 update (February 25, 2021) Coronavirus – Eritrea: Ministry of Health announcement (February 25, 2021) Coronavirus – Ethiopia: COVID-19 update (February 25, 2021) Top PR Professionals, Business Leaders Headline First Edition of Experience Public Relations Coronavirus – South Africa: COVID-19 update (February 25, 2021) UN forum unveils wonders of artificial intelligence and other sciences, technologies and innovations for Africa Coronavirus – Eswatini: COVID-19 update (February 25, 2021) Coronavirus – Rwanda: COVID-19 update (February 25, 2021) Africa needs pragmatic free market policies to attract capital to gas markets (By NJ Ayuk) Clarke enjoys the Royal Bernard Drome Classic title defense Market volatility and global expansion push INFINOX to half a trillion Equatorial Guinea leads regional gas monetization through Alen Backfill project Coronavirus – Nigeria: Community informants use mobile data collection tools to strengthen COVID-19 surveillance Central African Republic ‘highly unstable’ despite significant progress – UN peacekeeping chief Coronavirus – Eritrea: Ministry of Health announcement (February 24, 2021) Coronavirus – Ethiopia: COVID-19 update (February 24, 2021) Coronavirus – Malawi: COVID-19 update (February 24, 2021) FIFA President’s African visits continue Coronavirus – South Africa: COVID-19 update (February 24, 2021) Coronavirus – Eswatini: COVID-19 update (February 24, 2021) Coronavirus – Nigeria: COVID-19 update (February 24, 2021) Coronavirus – Uganda: COVID-19 update (February 24, 2021) Building greater sustainability, climate resilience in West Africa Local content at the top of Mozambique’s development agenda (By Charné Hundermark) Coronavirus – Rwanda: COVID-19 update (February 24, 2021) West African countries step up Ebola preparedness Angola’s 65-year oil history has been good for Angola despite some challenges (by Andres Vega) African football at a crucial stage with the polls of the African Football Confederation (CAF) looming Reunion for Campenaerts at the Belgian “Opening Weekend” Manchester United announces partnership with StarTimes to bring MUTV to Africa Hennessy Becomes First Global Spirits Partner of the NBA Canon launches EOS M50 Mark II as social content creation continues to soar Progress in women’s football highlighted at meetings in Morocco African Energy Chamber Investment Committee commits to facilitate multi-billion USD investments in 2021 for African energy projects Video press release: WHO Africa online press briefing on COVID-19 in Africa Coronavirus – Eswatini: COVID-19 update (February 23, 2021) Coronavirus – Ethiopia: COVID-19 update (February 23, 2021) Coronavirus – Nigeria: COVID-19 update (February 23, 2021) Coronavirus – Eritrea: Ministry of Health announcement (February 23, 2021) Raubenheimer satisfied with Bok Women’s progress Coronavirus – Malawi: COVID-19 update (February 23, 2021) The first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were delivered to Ghana via COVAX The Government of Pakistan and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation signed an annual financing plan amounting to US $ 1.1 billion Coronavirus – Uganda: COVID-19 update (February 23, 2021) NaturalShrimp Signs Letter of Intent to Acquire Aquaculture Assets from Hydrenesis Aquaculture, LLC