Child mortality in Yandoumbe
Central African Republic - The Bayaka Pygmies originally live in the heart of the tropical rainforest. They live in isolation from the rest of the world. In recent years they have been pushed further and further out of their primary habitat by deforestation.
Deep in the tropical rainforest, malaria hardly ever occurs. In densely forested areas, residents are less likely to become infected with dreaded diseases. But indigenous people such as the Bayaka Pygmies have to go down everywhere in Africa and are forced to be driven to other areas. To villages such as Yandoumbe, in the middle of a malaria risk area. Now they get sick from malaria, but there is no help to treat seriously ill children. When indigenous people are driven out of their original habitat, this not only changes their lives but also their food. The vast majority of the population lives in hopeless misery where disease and hunger strike hard. People have been completely left to their own devices and the risk of massive infant mortality is increasing.
The Bayaka is a special and unique population group. They live from the forest with a deeply rooted respect for nature and its balance. But in Yandoumbe this life hangs above the head like the Gravity of Damocles. The children are weakening and the change from a protein-rich to a low-protein diet has serious health consequences. In the long term, a lack of good nutrients leads to exhaustion of the body. The body of especially young children is unable to offer sufficient resistance to diseases. Certainly when they become infected with malaria, the chance of this is very high. Slowly but surely the lifeline of the Bayaka is eliminated. Dozens of children lose their lives. The Bayaka depend on help that is desperately needed.
The desperate situation about their threatened status is exacerbated by the political instability of the country, poverty, industrialization and large-scale deforestation. The Bayaka is considered 'lesser' and they are systematically refused medical C.A.R.e. Drive Against Malaria finds a dire and almost unsustainable situation in 2009. The children are severely malnourished and also infected with the most deadly form of malaria. In order to be able to treat and protect the children, action must be taken at lightning speed. The need for medicines is increasing every day. Drive Against Malaria immediately sounds the alarm bell in Europe and the United States, for help to the Bayaka.
In 2010, Drive Against Malaria launched a major aid campaign to prevent the tribe from disappearing completely. We focus first aid directly on testing and treating the children who are seriously infected. In addition, we work with a quick and powerful treatment in which the children heal after three days. In order to prevent the spread of the risk of infection, the medicines must be available in sufficient quantities. We take rigorous financial measures to increase their supply. ACT (Artemisinin Combination Therapy) gives cause for hope in Yandoumbe. We treat with encouraging results. We also need to act quickly for the surrounding villages to prevent a supply shortage. Otherwise, that first victory in Yandoumbe will have catastrophic consequences.
Our help for the Bayaka is vital. The malnourished children are particularly vulnerable during a malaria crisis. We treat 200 to sometimes 800 children in one day. We supply the village with life-saving medicines, train local Bayaka to become health workers and ensure that families are protected against malaria with the spread of mosquito nets. We work here under extremely difficult circumstances; the food situation is dire, there is no electricity or clean drinking water and the danger of armed rebels is added. Yandoumbe is part of our 'Dzanga Sangha Project' where various villages receive help from DAM.