Uganda: Healthcare Implementing Partner for UNHCR at Bidibidi Refugee Settlement
Widespread Medical Needs Addressed in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement: Q1 2018
July 01, 2018
Alphonse Mwanamwolho and Naku Charles Lwanga
Summary of Activities
The Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, opened in early August 2016 and still being built from the ground up, is now filled to capacity and has been closed to new arrivals, except for reuniting family members. The main objective of the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement is to assist refugee and host populations by treating the most prevalent health conditions. Special attention is to be given to malaria and malnutrition at more than 30 health centers and through community outreaches in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement.
RMF has provided many services and met many healthcare needs. The following activities have taken place at the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement:
- High-quality health services were provided to persons of concern through the Outpatient department, Inpatient department, therapeutic care, community outreaches, and referral services.
- RMF purchased and delivered medicines to the health facilities.
- RMF purchased laboratory supplies to test for diseases which supported the nutrition program.
- RMF provided a constant flow of cleaning supplies, which enabled the sanitary team to keep health facilities clean.
- RMF facilitated community leaders’ dialogues to help community leaders become ambassadors of good health practices.
- Continuous cervical cancer screening and education were provided.
- Health facilities provided antenatal, maternity, and family planning services.
- Safe motherhood targets were met, thanks in part to the dignity kits provided by UNHCR during delivery.
Aiding Pregnant and Lactating Women
The nutrition department is steadily growing and saving lives. Thanks to support from Convoy of Hope, pregnant and lactating women (PLW) have been especially helped. A 6-month nutrition program for pregnant and lactating mothers was successfully conducted at the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement. Among pregnant women 1,074 deliveries were conducted, of which 842 were refugees and 232 nationals.
Counseling and Testing
During the reporting period, RMF conducted HIV/AIDS counseling and testing. 10,632 clients were tested (9,398 refugees and 1,234 nationals). Of those, 46 nationals and 34 refugees tested HIV-positive and have been enrolled in ART treatment. RMF continued distributing condoms as a tool to promote HIV prevention. During the reporting period, 178,037 condoms were distributed through community outreach and the STI clinic.
Quality Medical Teams
Meeting Medical Needs
RMF’s outstanding health service provision in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement is creating positive feedback and respect for the organization. RMF maintained a highly skilled and motivated medical team and support staff. RMF was able to continue sustaining a medical team that is conducting medical screening and providing basic treatment and ambulance services to all South Sudanese refugees entering Uganda through Goboro border point.
RMF continues to promote the peaceful coexistence of refugees and nationals through the provision of integrated healthcare services, creating strong linkages, and harmonizing operations with district local government. The government of Uganda feels encouraged to support refugees since they see RMF’s involvement. Since our services benefit both refugees and the host community, they have increased the level of interaction between groups and helped to dispel the prejudices and possible tension that would exist between refugees and the host community.
The program is helping to build a healthy, empowered, working community. Community members have gained knowledge of preventive health through community sensitization, and because of the project, businesses have grown in the area, including food, retail, and hardware shops. People are healthier and can work consistently and get involved in more income generating activities. Additionally, RMF began constructing permanent buildings for 4 health centers and because of this some refugees and community members are engaged in making bricks, preparing aggregates, and excavating sand, etc.
Treatment and Care
In collaboration with Yumbe District, RMF conducted a mass hepatitis B screening and vaccinations of the refugees in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement. RMF began integrated child days and visited schools within Bidibidi Refugee Settlement. Children in schools were vaccinated and given deworming tablets.
Since 2009, RMF has been working to help the people of South Sudan recover from decades of civil war, which destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure and healthcare system. RMF initiated, co-founded, and continues to support the Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery, supports the Juba Teaching Hospital, and in December 2014, became the UNICEF implementing partner for malnutrition treatment and prevention in Jonglei State and the greater Pibor Administrative Area. Even after renewed fighting broke out in July 2016, RMF’s in-country teams have continued these programs. RMF has also been providing health services, school support for children, and vocational training to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda’s Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement since 2008, and was appointed UNHCR Health Implementing Partner in 2014.
To accommodate the large numbers of South Sudanese refugees fleeing to Uganda (between July 1, 2016 and September 21, 2016, there were 163,540 new arrivals), the Ugandan Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and the UNHCR, in partnership with RMF and other organizations, opened the new Bidibidi Refugee Settlement on August 5, 2016. Bidibidi is located near the South Sudanese border in the Yumbe district of West Nile, Uganda, and has the capacity to support 180,000 refugees. Bidibidi is being built from the ground up, and during August 2016, 31,902 refugees were relocated to the settlement. Real Medicine Foundation is the main UNHCR Health Implementing Partner for Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, and between August 5, 2016 and August 31, 2016, 5,331 patients were treated at RMF’s health clinic.
- To provide residents of Bidibidi Refugee Settlement with high quality primary health care
- To maintain easily accessible, fully staffed, fully stocked health clinics
- To provide referrals to secondary and tertiary care centers when needed
- To provide health education and early detection through health outreaches
- To provide support to Yumbe District Hospital
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Total Patients Served
January to April 2018
68,246 medical consultations
- 57,971 refugees
- 10,275 nationals
March and April 2018
205 Patient Consultations
- 111 Fresh Fractures
- 29 dislocations
- 12 clubfoot
- 2 osteomyelitis
March and April 2018
98 Patient Consultations
- 21 osteoarthritis
- 2 STIs
- 11 neuropathy
- 27 low back pain
- 21 spondylosis
Young Mother Malnourished
Christine Bako is a 21-year-old lactating mother who was enrolled in the program on December 7, 2017, with a MUAC of 19 cm, which was below normal, and a weight of 34.5 kg. Christine comes from Zone 1 of Bidibidi Refugee Settlement. Being very young at that age, she says it was due to difficult situations that made her lose weight: she had no one in the house to support her, she doesn’t know where her husband is, and now she is left to sustain herself.
Christine also shared that with the small plot that was given to her, she cannot cultivate enough food to sustain herself and her two children. During the program, Christine improved her MUAC to 22.7 cm, and at the completion of the program, she is a healthier woman, as she gained weight from 34.5 kg to 52 kg. She says that this achievement is a result of the continuous nutrition education she received from the RMF team.
Christine is proud to share her story with the world, given that she is able to bring some food to her table through backyard gardening, where she is able to feed her kids.
Esther Odeye is a 20-year-old lactating mother who was enrolled in the program on December 7, 2017 with a MUAC of 20 cm, which was below normal, and a weight of 41 kg. Esther resides in Zone 1 of Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, and she was discovered through the mass screening that was done at the inception of the program. Like any other woman in the program, Esther did not pass the nutrition test. As her MUAC was below the required centimeters, she was enrolled in the program.
With the required measurements that were given to her through RMF nutrition officers, she gained weight and also the MUAC. After 3 months on the program, she had improved and was discharged with a MUAC of 23.4 cm. Esther says that her long stay on the program was as a result of her sharing part of her foods with her child, given that they didn’t have food. But after knowing the importance of the practice, she adopted the idea of not sharing; that’s how she managed to improve.