Uganda: Healthcare Implementing Partner for UNHCR at Bidibidi Refugee Settlement
RMF Founder and CEO, Dr. Martina Fuchs, Visits Bidibidi: March-May 2017
June 18, 2017
Alphonse Mwanamwolho and Naku Charles Lwanga
Summary of Activities
Current statistics indicate that there are 272,206 refugees and asylum seekers now living in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, and including other South Sudanese refugees in the area, as well as the host population of Yumbe, the project targets over 400,000 people.
Throughout this reporting period, RMF staff has continued to provide high-quality health services to persons of concern through the Outpatient department, Inpatient department, inpatient therapeutic care, outpatient therapeutic care, community outreaches, and referral services.
- Provided antenatal, maternity, and family planning services to promote safe motherhood.
- RMF purchased medicines to treat patients and laboratory supplies to test for diseases. Medicines and testing helped save lives.
- RMF provided a constant flow of cleaning supplies, which enabled the sanitary team to keep health facilities clean.
- Continuous cervical screening and education is ongoing at the health facilities. Those testing positive are referred to the regional referral points for further management (cervical biopsy for histology and cytology).
- Health workers received continuous training on disease surveillance during the reporting period. RMF now has a standby technical surveillance team.
- RMF hired additional medical staff to support health centers neighboring Bidibidi Refugee Settlement. This has helped reduce the constraints felt in these health centers due to the dramatic increase in population. District health facilities benefiting from this program include Yumbe Hospital, Barakala Health Centre III, and Kulikulinga Health Centre III.
- RMF has maintained a highly skilled, dedicated medical team thanks to the prompt payment of salaries and wages, as well as RMF mentorship.
Visiting Bidibidi Refugee Settlement
Assessment and Encouragement
RMF Founder and CEO Dr. Martina Fuchs visited the Bidibidi program and successfully toured all of the project sites, inspiring our staff and assessing operations.
Extending to a New Zone
The relationship between RMF, UNHCR, and OPM is steadily growing. Because of RMF’s commendable work, we have been asked to extend our program to Zone 3 of Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, effective from July 1, 2017. Arrangements for handover are underway.
Screening and Treatment
RMF continued to provide HIV/AIDS screening services. Those testing positive are enrolled in ART, and they, as well as HIV-negative patients, are encouraged to practice healthy lifestyle behaviors. RMF has established an ART clinic at Bidibidi Reception Health Centre. The ART clinic has been accredited; thus, it can receive and store ARV drugs.
Children under 5
RMF’s team worked to immunize all children under 5 years of age. The under-5 immunization rate is calculated at 96%.
Medical Screenings and Treatment
Goboro Border and Bidibidi
RMF has sustained a medical team at Goboro border point, conducting medical screening and providing basic treatment and ambulance services to all South Sudanese refugees entering Uganda through Goboro. Medical screenings of new refugees arriving at the settlement were effectively completed.
Staff Housing Challenges
Temporary Tents are Failing
Staff housing has remained a big challenge. When the settlement was opened in August 2016, staff members were housed in tents which are supposed to last for 3 months. These tents have outlived their lifespan and do not provide adequate shelter to host the staff.
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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Our medical team has been caring for a set of premature twins (born at 6 months). The twins are now 2 months old and growing steadily.