Ambassador's Onsite Visit to Refugee Settlement
Understanding and Compassion for Daily Challenges of Bidibidi
Welcoming the US Ambassador to Uganda at Bidibidi Refugee Settlement
US Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah R. Malac, has applauded RMF for our health care program in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement, Uganda. The ambassador, who visited the settlement on January 6th, 2017, had the desire to extend the compassion of the American people to refugees living in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement and to personally experience and appreciate the challenges faced by refugees on a daily basis.
Ambassador Malac visited some of the health facilities operated by RMF in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement and appreciated the fact that amidst a mountain of challenges, RMF has been able to set up a healthcare system that directly serves more than 272,206 refugees fleeing from the turmoil in South Sudan. RMF is an official UNHCR-OPM Health Implementing Partner responsible for providing primary health care to the refugees and host communities of Bidibidi and Kiryandongo refugee settlements in Uganda.
Partners operating in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement in a group photo with the US Ambassador to Uganda
Challenges of Bidibidi Refugee Settlement Appreciated by the Envoy
- Lack of running water in health facilities
- Shortage of ambulances
- Temporary structures serving as health facilities
- Lack of staff accommodation
- Reduced food rations for refugees
- Lack of education/vocational training facilities for refugees
- Lack of livelihood programs
Ambassador Malac pledged to lobby the American government and the international community for support. She was accompanied by Todd F. Buchwald, Special Coordinator, Office of Global Criminal Justice; Bornwell Kantande, UNHCR Representative in Uganda; and Uganda’s Hon. Musa Ecweru, State Minister for Relief and Disaster Preparedness, among others.
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