On Wednesday, December 7th, 2016, Dr. Alex Tezita and Dr. Robert Baluku traveled from Uganda’s Bidibidi Refugee Settlement and Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement to represent RMF at the IGAD consultative meeting on Global Fund TB/HIV grant implementation within the refugee settlements in the IGAD member states (these include Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan). The meeting was held in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa from December 8th to December 9th, 2016. RMF was selected to be part of this consultative meeting by the UNHCR, since we are their main Health Implementing Partner in the refugee settlements of Kiryandongo and Bidibidi.
IGAD secured a Global Fund grant that is aimed at scaling up HIV and TB activities (including prevention, care, and treatment of TB and HIV) within refugee settlements in the IGAD region. The UNHCR was selected as the sub-recipient (SR) for this grant in Uganda, and RMF was selected as the sub-sub-recipient (SSR) for Kiryandongo and Bidibidi.
Twenty refugee camps in the region will benefit from this grant, and the duration of the project is two and a half years. The effective date of the project was October 1st, 2016; however, implementation at the refugee camp level starts on January 1st, 2017. Initially, Bidibidi Refugee Settlement (in Yumbe district) was not part of the 20 selected refugee camps, being a new settlement. However, we advocated for its inclusion since it hosts one of the biggest populations of refugees in Uganda and the region at large. Bidibidi Refugee Settlement also hosts different ethnicities with different mindsets and understandings of HIV and TB ailments, which qualifies Bidibidi as a suitable place for the implementation of this project. It was finally agreed that Bidibidi Refugee Settlement would also be one of the implementation sites.
Main project objectives:
- To strengthen coordination and collaboration for improvement of refugee services and other cross-border health issues
- To support the availability of uninterrupted HIV and TB drugs and other diagnostic supplies
- To provide an overall understanding of the project and its work plan
- To support the timely implementation of the grant and address implementation challenges across countries
- To provide advice on how TB and HIV are harmonized in all refugee camps and cross-border areas
- The SSR (in this case RMF) will sign a grant agreement with the SR (UNHCR).
- It is expected that the SSR will submit programmatic and financial expenditure reports to the SR on a quarterly basis.
- The SSR is expected to open a separate bank account for the management of the grant funds.
- The SSR will carry out the grassroots implementation of the project using existing structures and in line with the IGAD developed work plan and reporting tools.
During the implementation of this project, RMF will provide capacity building for the majority of our health workers to enhance the diagnosis of HIV and TB. We will also enroll more clients for HIV and TB care and treatment.
Dr. Robert Baluku and Dr. Alex Tezita would like to thank the management of RMF for trusting us to represent the organization at this regional meeting and also giving us all the necessary support that we needed to make our trip a success.
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