Why are we there?

  • Armed conflict
  • Endemic/Epidemic disease
  • Health care exclusion

Uganda: Latest MSF Updates

Crisis Update: June 19, 2017

Facts and Figures

International staff: 46

Ugandan and South Sudanese staff: 853

  April 2017 May 2017
Outpatient Consultations 21,092 33,442
Inpatients Admitted 171 228
Deliveries Assisted 32 100
Patients Treated for Malnutrition at Ambulatory Therapeutic Feeding Centers 74 53
Vaccinations 23,606 19,304
Malaria Cases 3,307 10,926
Patients Treated for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence - 31

Malaria: Cases nearly doubled from 488 in week 20 (May 15 to 21) to 853 in week 21 (May 22 to 28) in Palorinya and Rhino. In an inpatient clinic in Rhino, there were 54 admissions from May 19 to June 4, 74 percent of which were due to malaria. In Bidi Bidi, there were 8,623 malaria cases in May in comparison to 5,390 cases in April.

Rubella: There have been 18 cases of suspected rubella in Palorinya and five in Rhino (two confirmed). MSF is focusing on awareness through messaging and active case-finding.

Mental health: in Imvepi, MSF conducted 338 consultations and 58 follow-up diagnoses at the reception center, while 88 follow-up cases were conducted in mobile clinics for symptoms including depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and epilepsy.

It is estimated that more than 950,000 South Sudanese refugees are now in Uganda, with an average of 1,613 arriving daily throughout May 2017. Refugees now make up more than 30 percent of the populations in the northern Ugandan districts of Adjumani, Yumbe, and Moyo.

As these numbers grow, food supplies are becoming an increasing concern for both the host population and the refugees. The World Food Program cut food rations by 50 percent due to a lack of funding and a continued drought is impacting food prices throughout northern Uganda. In some of the refugee settlements, tensions have risen as rations are cut and some refugees are even returning to South Sudan because of a lack of food.

Imvepi refugee settlement, to which newly arrived refugees have been relocated since February 2017, is expected to be full in the coming weeks. A new settlement, an extension of Rhino, is planned to open in the coming weeks.

On June 22 and 23 the Uganda Solidarity Summit on Refugees will be held in Kampala to mobilize international support and funding to meet the needs of both refugee and host communities, as well as showcase Uganda’s model of refugee management, protection, and social integration. A team from MSF will attend the summit and do advocacy rounds on the side lines.

With the rainy season underway, floods have affected parts of Palorinya refugee settlement, further displacing more than 100 households and necessitating an extension of the refugee settlement. MSF donated latrines as people were moved before the site had been prepared. Heavy rains have also caused the roads to deteriorate, leading to decreased access to clean water as well as poorer sanitation services in the areas affected. There is now a high risk of cholera and other waterborne diseases. An MSF emergency preparation plan is ongoing for a potential cholera outbreak.

Due to the rains, MSF is also seeing increasing numbers of malaria cases. From May 22 to 28 MSF treated 853 patients for malaria in the Palorinya and Rhino settlements, compared to just 488 in previous week. Plans are in place to start mobile clinics and open malaria points in the settlements to improve access to patients and decrease the load on the clinics. Malaria is also the top morbitidy in Bidi Bidi and Imvepi.

There has been a continuous increase in the total number of consultations, which could be attributed to the increase in the number of malaria cases. Due to flooding in some zones in Bidi Bidi, MSF set up a weekly mobile clinic for one month to prevent diarrhea outbreaks and built 10 communal latrines as an emergency response.

Our Work

This is an excerpt from MSF's 2015 International Activity Report:

At the end of 2015, MSF opened a new project in Kasese district, southwest Uganda.

This project focused on access to healthcare for adolescents and the fishing communities on lakes George and Edward. Both groups are particularly vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Activities are run in complete integration with the public health system.

HIV Care

Since 2013, MSF has supported the HIV laboratory in Arua district, and has introduced devices to measure CD4 and viral load as part of a UNITAID-funded project. In 2015, MSF started offering early infant diagnosis to test babies born to HIV-positive mothers so that they can start antiretroviral (ARV) treatment as quickly as possible, if necessary. MSF is also supporting genotyping tests, which identify resistance to second-line ARVs.

Response to a Malaria Outbreak

MSF conducted an epidemiological assessment in Kole, Apach and Oyam districts, and at the request of the Ministry of Health, donated more than 81,000 treatments for malaria and supported case management in health centers in two districts and a hospital in Kole. Teams also ran mobile clinics and referred patients to Lira regional hospital when required. Over five months, 63,000 patients with malaria were treated in the districts supported by MSF.

Project Handovers

In July, MSF handed over the outpatient, inpatient and maternity care services it had been providing for South Sudanese refugees in Adjumani district since January 2014 to Medical Teams International. Between January and July, more than 48,600 consultations were carried out, and 574 patients were admitted to hospital.

At the end of 2015, MSF had 309 staff in Uganda. MSF has been working in the country since 1986.

Patient Story

Fifi, 27-years-old

“I came from Bunia in DRC, 200 miles from here. I come here to get ARV drugs but transport is too expensive, so I’ve stayed with my sister in Arua for the past six months.

Every two months I come here to collect my free treatment from MSF. My six-year-old daughter tested HIV positive first; that’s how I found out I was sick too. She stays with me; we are both under treatment. In the community, there are people that accept us and others that stigmatize. In Bunia there is no free treatment and I cannot work at the moment.”

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