Conflict threatens DRC healthcare

Feb. 5, 2014 at 10:49 AM

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Lingering conflict in parts of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is preventing civilians from seeking medical care, Doctors without Borders said.

Conflict abated in DRC last year when members of the March 23 Movement agreed to end its rebel campaign following peace talks in neighboring Uganda. International human rights groups say M23 is just one of a dozen other armed groups fighting in DRC's eastern provinces.

Thomas Mollet, director a regional mission from Doctors without Borders, told the United Nations' Integrated Regional Information Networks violence in eastern DRC made it too risky for some people to see medical care.

"When we do see patients, they arrive very late," he said in an interview published Tuesday. "A lot of children are dying from malaria."

The United Nations estimates more than 400,000 people have been displaced by recent fighting in southeastern Katanga province.

Last week, U.N. special envoy to DRC Martin Kobler said he was "extremely concerned" by the deteriorating security situation in the country.

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