Uganda is a landlocked country in East Africa that currently ranks 161 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index (HDI 2013), rating it as one of the most underdeveloped countries in the world. Uganda has been affected by almost 20 years of insecurity due to attacks from the “Lord’s Resistance Army” (LRA), and welcomed a phase of peace in August 2006. The country continues to work to meet the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, although significant challenges to maternal and child health in Uganda remain.
Communities Without Care in North Uganda
Communities in North Uganda have suffered greatly. The LRA fought and afflicted communities in North Uganda for years and the area, receiving less assistance than other areas, is now the poorest in the nation. Equitable access to health care services for women and children remains a critical concern as the severe violence deprived the population of necessary infrastructure and access to quality health care services.
Fighting in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo pushed almost 26,000 refugees into Uganda within the span of five days in early July of this year. This displacement of Congolese families is only expected to continue as the vast country grapples with the worst clashes it has experienced in years.
Refugee crisis in Uganda
Congo's northern province has been shaken by violence since late March, after hundreds of former rebels defected from the army in support of a renegade general who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for suspected war crimes. The mutiny risks dragging the loosely governed central African state back into war.
“We ran from too many gunshots that went on throughout the night,” said Bwema Matata, one of the refugees being transported from a border transit camp to Rwamanja refugee camp in Uganda.
“My parents died. My siblings have been killed. So we had to run. We ran to the border,” Matata told AlertNet.
Matata’s story is typical of the thousands of Congolese seeking refuge from the violence in their country. Most of the refugees are women and children, and many of the women are pregnant.
In addition to the more than 26,000 Congolese refugees who have already crossed the Ugandan border to escape the conflict, there is an estimated 9,000 more people waiting to get into Uganda for safety. The rebel violence continues to intensify, sending government forces fleeing and displacing more vulnerable people from