On March 28, 2022, Medical Teams International began assisting more than 10,000 people who fled from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) into Kisoro district, in the southwest corner of Uganda. Rebel attacks in DRC forced thousands of men, women, and children to flee for their lives overnight — leaving behind their homes and belongings — and become refugees in Uganda. Authorities estimate an additional 36,000 people have been displaced from their homes but remain in DRC.

Our health teams in Uganda were there to meet new refugees and screen them for illnesses and injuries. Many people arrived with gunshot wounds and were transported by Medical Teams ambulances to local hospitals for treatment. This new massive influx of refugees is in addition to an already high number of refugees that have been entering Uganda for the last six months.

Since November 2021, Uganda has been receiving a steadily increasing number of refugees fleeing DRC due to insecurity. At Mahani Reception Center, near Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement, Program Manager Racheal Kyalikoba was on scene as refugees arrived after being transported there by bus from the border:

Program Manager Racheal Kyalikoba, Uganda

When refugees arrive at transit centers in Uganda, health teams help welcome new arrivals with essential medical care. These are a few of the activities health workers provide to incoming refugees:

  • Congolese refugee families set up tents to stay in after entering Uganda.Check for COVID-19 symptoms
  • Screen for other disease outbreaks like malaria, Ebola, and cholera
  • Check children under the age of 5 for malnutrition
  • Treat minor ailments
  • Provide prenatal care for pregnant women
  • Give immunizations for tetanus, measles, and more

As refugees continue to arrive in Kisoro district they are hosted at a few temporary sites such as the Nyakabande Transit Centre. These facilities are stretched to the max. Some facilities that normally have space for 500 people to sleep are hosting thousands. We are working hard to ensure there are no outbreaks of cholera and other diseases that we often see when thousands are congregated together with insufficient infrastructure like bathrooms, clean water, and handwashing stations.

long, single-file line of refugees
Refugees at the Kisoro district border in Uganda wait in line to receive hot meals

As more refugees arrive every day, we are proud to be responding to the critical needs of people who have lost nearly everything as they have fled their home. Your support is needed to provide hope and wholeness to the community we are serving. Give today to help these refugees in Uganda.


 

Michael Chapman
Senior Director, Global Programs