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In Burkina Faso, bloodshed without doctors

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on March 25, 2020 - Duration: 01:56s

In Burkina Faso, bloodshed without doctors

In northern Burkina Faso, where jihadist and communal violence is spiraling, the healthcare system is "virtually on its knees" and the medical NGO that remains could be forced further away by the conflict.

David Doyle reports.

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In Burkina Faso, bloodshed without doctors

Salimata Kabre likes to keep her sunglasses on indoors; underneath the tinted lenses, she carries a scar of Burkina Faso's spiraling violence.

Salimata's one of 20,000 people who fled jihadist and communal violence to the northern town of Titao.

But as the bloodshed escalates, the devastated healthcare system in Titao and across Burkina Faso's north has been unable to cope.

Salimata's injury happened in November.

She says soldiers arrived at a field where she and others were working, looking for jihadists.

The workers lay on the ground, but when a child next to her lifted her head, Salimata tried to protect her - and was shot in the face.

Her husband took her to Titao - the population of which has doubled in the past year - where she was treated by a doctor from the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres.

MSF says healthcare in Burkina Faso's north is quote "virtually on its knees" and that most medical facilities are either closed or barely functioning.

Salimata says without the MSF doctor, she would have died.

But if the violence reaches Titao, MSF will likely have to relocate further away from communities who are constantly under attack.

Doctor Dominique Nguetta says MSF is the only organization offering primary and secondary healthcare and that if they have to leave it will create a vacuum.

The organization says mobile clinics have already been seriously curtailed.

The UN's refugee agency says the total number of internally displaced civilians now stands at 780,000.

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