Emergency response in a volatile environment

Epidemic hepatitis-E outbreak in Bocaranga causes additional suffering for populations living in precarious conditions in the Central African Republic.


In October 2018, the town of Bocaranga in the prefecture of Ouham-Pendé, with a population of 21,500 people, suffered an epidemic of hepatitis-E. Given its proximity to Cameroon where a conflict is unfolding and large presence of gold in its subsoil, Bocaranga is a destination for those seeking to make a better living. At the end of November, the local government health department of Bocaranga-Koui confirmed 149 cases of contagion and one death, with 97% of the cases concentrated in the town of Bocaranga.

In the past few months, DRC has participated in the humanitarian response to contain as best as possible the hepatitis-E epidemic within the town of Bocaranga and limit its expansion towards other areas.

“It is notably thanks to USAID funds that DRC was able to intervene. Our teams were deployed during the November crisis which displaced 25,000 people in Batangafo and right after to the hepatitis-E response in Bocaranga,” says Christian Mascaro, Country Director for the Danish Refugee Council in the Central African Republic.

DRC first of all put in place a system to bring water by truck to internally displaced populations in the most densely populated areas around the town of Bocaranga. DRC then proceeded to rehabilitate existing water boreholes and wells and cleaned 98 water points through chlorination. The response was coordinated with local sanitary district authorities and the WASH humanitarian coordination group, and it was carried out in cooperation with other health, water and hygiene organizations including MSF-Spain, CORDAID, IRC, Mentor and World Health Organization.

Since 2008, the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) has worked in Bocaranga providing a multi-sector response to the needs of the displaced population in the area. With the support of USAID, DRC has put in place Protection, Livelihood, Food Security and Social Cohesion activities—all the while maintaining an emergency response component. This has been the case with the latest outbreak of hepatitis E in the town, where our teams participated in the response to contain the epidemic.