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Central African Republic

Background


Click for a detailed map (PDF)

This map does not reflect a position by UNICEF on the legal status of any country or territory or the delimitation of any frontiers.

Located rights at the heart of the African continent, the Central African Republic has suffered from more than a decade of armed conflict and rebellion.  The worst affected regions are located in the northeast and northwest of the country where rebel forces and government troops frequently clash.  In addition “coupeur de routes” or bandits roam freely across the northwest of the country, looting property and kidnapping children.  The resulting mass displacement and the complete decimation of public infrastructure, combined with the overspill from the Chad and Darfur conflicts, is having a huge impact on the country’s women and children. It is estimated that one million people have already been affected by the violence. 

At least 197,000 people have been displaced internally, many of whom are living in the bush without access to basic services. Chronic poverty combined with the ongoing instability means that, despite improvements over the past year, CAR continues to have some of the continent’s worst child survival indicators.

The security situation also means that humanitarian access remains both difficult and dangerous. UNICEF is continuing to expand their field offices in Bossangoa and Kaga Bandoro in an effort to reach more CAR’s vulnerable women and children. 

Issues Facing the Children of the Central African Republic

  • One in five children dies before their fifth birthday.
    • One third of the population completely lack access to safe water and sanitation, meaning infectious disease is common, particularly amongst displaced populations.
    • At 6.2%, the country has one of the region’s highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates.  The country also has an estimated 240,000 HIV/AIDS orphans.
    • 67% of the population live on less than a dollar a day, leaving many families unable to meet their children’s basic needs.
    • Malnutrition remains a serious problem with 38% of the country’s children suffering from Global Chronic Malnutrition and 10% suffering from Global Acute Malnutrition.
    • Just 51% of children enrol in primary school.  In the conflict affected regions, more than 75% remain out of school. 
    • The use of child soldiers remains prevalent, particularly in the northwest.
    • Coupeur de Routes are responsible for causing widespread terror; attacking villages, destroying homes, kidnapping parents and children

Activities and Results for Children

  • UNICEF is committed to providing three National Child Survival Day campaigns per year, delivering high impact health packages to women and children across the country.  In September 2007;
    • 115,000 children aged 12-59 months and 11,000 pregnant women received de-worming treatment
    • 60,000 children aged 12-59 months and 4,000 lactating mothers received Vitamin-A supplementation
    • 13,000 babies received DPT3 vaccines
    • 20,000 children received measles vaccines
  • UNICEF is supporting the treatment of severely malnourished children across the country; 
    • Approximately 200 children suffering from Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) are treated per month at the Therapeutic Feeding Unit (TFU) in the country’s capital, Bangui
    • A total of 400 children receive treatment in Ouadda Djalle (northeastern CAR) and Bossangoa (northwestern CAR)
  • UNICEF is continuing to provide assistance to the 3,000 Sudanese refugees who arrived in the north-eastern town of Sam Ouandja in May 2007. Through their implementing partner Triangle GH, a mini pumping station and distribution stand have been successfully installed providing a total of 40 m3 of drinking water to the camp per day. 
     
  • UNICEF is continuing to provide training to peer-educators and community workers across CAR.  In Ndele and Kaga Bandoro, north-western CAR, UNICEF has worked alongside the Ministry of Youth and Caritas to train 570 community workers from 121 villages to help raise awareness on HIV/AIDS and Gender-Based Violence (GBV). 

  •  The Bush Schools project, which provides emergency education to conflict affected children, is continuing to expand. With the help of UNICEF’s NGO partner COOPI, schooling has been resumed for 12,500 children in Paoua with a total of 97 Bush Schools having been created so far.  The children have also been provided with school kits and 295 parent-teachers have received training. 

  • Following the June 2007 tri-party action plan between the UFDR, Government of CAR and UNICEF for the “Reduction and Elimination of Under-age Recruitment and Utilisation, their Demobilisation and Reintegration", UNICEF has continued to work with approximately 450 children, released from the rebels’ ranks. Activities have included the provision of education and vocational training.

       


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        Basic Indicators

        Under-5 mortality rank

        6

        Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 1990

        171

        Under-5 mortality rate (U5MR), 2012

        129

        U5MR by sex 2012, male

        135

        U5MR by sex 2012, female

        122

        Infant mortality rate (under 1), 1990

        113

        Infant mortality rate (under 1), 2012

        91

        Neonatal mortality rate 2012

        41

        Total population (thousands) 2012

        4525.2

        Annual no. of births (thousands) 2012

        156.3

        Annual no. of under-5 deaths (thousands) 2012

        19

        GNI per capita (US$) 2012

        490

        Life expectancy at birth (years) 2012

        49.5

        Total adult literacy rate (%) 2008-2012*

        56.6

        Primary school net enrolment ratio (%) 2008-2011*

        68.9

        Definitions and data sources [popup]

        Source: The State of the World's Children

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