Uganda: emergency medical relief for 22,000 Congolese refugees
After recent clashes between rebels and the Congolese army drove tens of thousands in Democratic Republic of Congo over the border into Uganda, the Order of Malta’s worldwide relief agency, Malteser International is responding to this new humanitarian crisis. Around 70,000 people streamed into the poorly developed Bundibugyo district within a short period of time starting in mid-July, following an attack from the rebel Allied Democratic Forces in the Congolese town of Kamango.
“Bundibugyo district was simply not prepared for this large wave of refugees,” says Katja Horstmann, program manager for Uganda at Malteser International. “The district is one of the most neglected and isolated regions in western Uganda.” A refugee camp set up in Bubukwanga currently houses 16,000 refugees.
To ensure that the refugees are receiving adequate health care, Malteser International will support a total of four health posts along the Ugandan-Congolese border. At the Bubukwanga health center, Malteser International will provide two refrigerators for vaccines and laboratory use as well as medical and laboratory equipment. Malteser International will also improve health care for the refugees living outside of the camp by supporting three centers in the villages of Nyahuka, Butogo, and Busaru with medicines, equipment, and personnel. In addition, the agency will supply medication to a dispensary on the Congolese side of the border. Mobile outreach teams will conduct vaccination campaigns in the surrounding areas.
Malteser International is working in close cooperation with Medical Teams International in the refugee camp. This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Malteser International has been active in Uganda and DR Congo since 1996, where it has conducted projects in the areas of health and nutrition, water, emergency relief and livelihood support.