Medical Teams Currently Responding to Refugee Influx from DRC into Tanzania

(Portland, OR) March 28, 2023 – Medical Teams International, a global humanitarian and health organization, commends Vice President Kamala Harris for her planned visit to Tanzania on March 29-31. Medical Teams is grateful for the increased visibility she will bring to some of the unique challenges and opportunities facing this nation.

A major challenge Medical Teams works to address is removing barriers to accessing health care for refugees in Tanzania, many of whom are arriving from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently, it is of great concern that roughly 5,000 Congolese refugees have arrived in Tanzania, and many are crossing Lake Tanganyika by boat. Medical Teams is providing health screenings, diagnosis, treatment, and referrals as needed for refugee families and individuals. The most pressing health issues are malaria, lower and upper respiratory tract infections, diarrhea, skin diseases, and depression.

With the support of private donors, the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Medical Teams has been on the front lines assisting the government of Tanzania in caring for the health of refugees since 2017. Medical Teams provides comprehensive, timely medical care to Congolese and Burundian refugees and host populations. The organization currently serves approximately 218,300 refugees, asylum seekers, and host nationals in Nyarugusu and Nduta camps in remote northwestern Tanzania (Kigoma region).

“We are pleased that the Vice President of the United States has chosen to visit Tanzania,” said Dr. George Mwita, Medical Teams Country Director for Tanzania. “The health care and health system strengthening that we provide is made possible due to the generosity of the American people, government institutions such as the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, and global partners such as UNHCR. Since 2017, more than $15 million has been granted to Medical Teams to fund our work in Tanzania.”

Medical Teams is active in a wide array of health services in Tanzania. These include:

  • Working to improve outcomes in reproductive and child health, including safe deliveries at health facilities and the training of health workers.
  • Strengthening community health systems by promoting early health-seeking behavior, with teams visiting households with health education messages.
  • Through the coordination and transportation of patients to secondary hospitals, supporting the region’s referral mechanisms.
  • Improving medical supply chain management and emergency preparedness through the procurement of medicines, medical consumables, and medical equipment, as well as the training of health workers, logistics staff, and emergency response teams.
  • Preparing contingency plans to prevent and respond to emergencies and outbreaks. For example, responding to and controlling the spread of COVID-19 through vaccination.
  • Working on the delivery of nutrition services through complementary feeding practices.

About Medical Teams International

Founded in 1979, Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, such as survivors of natural disasters and refugees. We care for the whole person— physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Daring to love like Jesus, we serve all people—regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. Learn more at and on social media using @medicalteams.

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