UN agency donates $18-million equipment to hospitals

The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has donated obstetrical equipment worth US $18.2 million to hospitals in Central African Republic (CAR), which were looted during a rebellion in October 2002 to March 2003, state-owned Radio Centrafrique reported on Tuesday.

UNFPA representative Basile Tabasch said the agency would oversee the distribution of the equipment to hospitals in the towns of Bossangoa, Bozoum, Mongoumba, Grimari and Bambari.

The donation comprises mattresses, basins, scales, stethoscopes, speculums, iron plates, tape measuremes, sphygmomanometers (blood pressure cuffs), clinical thermometers and gloves.

The radio reported that Health Minister Nestor-Mamadou Nali thanked the UN agency for the donation, saying: "We'll make good use of these materials because they are exactly what we need."

He added that the equipment would reinforce intervention capacities of obstetrical services.

Several hospitals, mainly those in the northwest of the country, were looted during the six-month rebellion led by the current CAR leader Francois Bozize. The war ended on 15 March 2003 when Bozize ousted President Ange-Felix Patasse. Since then, social services in the northwest are slowly returning to normal, with government and humanitarian officials gaining access to the area.

Nali said the UNFPA donation would help reduce maternal and infant mortality.