Why are we there?
- Armed conflict
- Endemic/Epidemic disease
- Health care exclusion
This is an excerpt from MSF's 2014 International Activity Report:
More than 128,000 South Sudanese people fleeing violence had crossed into Uganda by the end of October.
The majority of the refugees, some 81,000 of them, settled in northern Uganda’s Adjumani district. After being registered through Numanzi transit center, they were dispersed to camps. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) launched an emergency program to provide basic health care for refugees at the transit center and in the four camps. Teams screened children for malnutrition, and set up outpatient and inpatient departments, maternity wards, and an intensive therapeutic feeding center. Water and sanitation activities were also undertaken to ensure minimum hygiene standards were being met. As the number of arrivals dropped and other agencies began to cover some of the needs, MSF shifted its focus to the two largest camps in the south, Ayilo 1 and Ayilo 2, and health screening and consultations at the transit center. More than 124,000 consultations were carried out and over 4,000 patients were admitted to hospital.
A significant number of refugee children seen by MSF had respiratory infections, which can spread quickly in crowded environments. From July to September, MSF conducted three rounds of vaccination against pneumococcal disease and Haemophilus influenzae type B, the two main causes of respiratory infections in children. More than 2,700 children under two, living in the refugee camps or in the surrounding villages, were fully immunized against pneumococcus. This was the first vaccination campaign using the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine ever run in Uganda, and one of the first in a refugee setting.
Arua HIV/Tuberculosis (TB) Program Closes
The HIV/TB program that MSF started in 2001, based at Arua regional referral hospital, was handed over to the Ministry of Health and SUSTAIN (Strengthening Uganda’s Systems for Treating AIDS Nationally), a Ugandan–American NGO, in July. The project included clinical care, the management of a laboratory for HIV, TB, and drug-resistant TB testing, and the provision of antiretrovirals. MSF also handed over the management center for multidrug-resistant TB that it built and had been running.
MSF is continuing to work on improving access to viral load testing, including for infants, with the UNITAID-funded Treatment Success Project. An MSF team is also assessing specific medical needs related to HIV in particularly vulnerable groups, such as children, adolescents, and mobile populations.
Marburg Emergency Preparedness
In October, one case of Marburg hemorrhagic fever was confirmed in Kampala, triggering a joint response by the Ministry of Health, MSF, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MSF set up five transit centers and one Ebola treatment center within Kampala Hospitals and trained staff working at these sites and in other provinces. No further cases were reported.
At the end of 2014, MSF had 568staff in Uganda. MSF has been working in the country since 1986.
“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.”