January 27, 2009

Since October 2008, following the latest fighting between armed groups in North Kivu province, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) teams have been assisting refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) at the Uganda border. At the Ishasha border crossing, the number of new arrivals has decreased significantly as the fighting in DRC eased.

In Matanda camp, 25 kms (15 miles) east of Ishasha, an estimated 6,000 people are temporary taking shelter until they are transferred by the United Nation High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to Nakivale camp, 250 kms (155 miles) east of Matanda, or they decide to return to DRC. MSF teams are carrying out an average of 130 consultations per day in a health center there. This camp is expected to close in the coming weeks once all refugees have been transferred or returned to DRC.

In Kisoro, 140 kms (86 miles) south, on the DRC-Uganda border, MSF is still supporting the health center with a team of one clinical officer and one nurse, but here as well the flow of people has been strongly reduced.

In Nakivale, at Kabahinda camp, the situation is now stable and there are no more cases of cholera and no fears of epidemics. MSF teams have greatly improved the sanitation conditions by constructing latrines, supplying 100,000 liters of water, and carrying out community awareness about the hygienic conditions that spread cholera. An additional 2,100 people have been transferred here since the beginning of the year from Matanda and from Kisoro, amounting to a total of 5,500 people staying in this camp. MSF is currently carrying out an average of 850 consultations per week, with a team of four clinical officers, seven nurses, and one doctor. The main pathologies are malaria, respiratory infections, diarrhea, skin diseases, and some cases of post-traumatic stress disorder.