Uganda: Healthcare Implementing Partner for UNHCR at Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement

UNHCR Uganda October Update

October 21, 2015

Project Title:  Primary Health Care support to South Sudan refugees and Asylum Seekers residing in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement

Project Objectives:

  1. Health status of the population improved
  2. Population has optimal access to reproductive health and HIV services
  3. Operations management, coordination and support strengthened and optimized

Supported Health Units:

  1. Panyadoli Health Center III
  2. Panyadoli Hills Health Center II
  3. Reception Center Clinic
  4. Nyakadot Health Center II

In July 2014, RMF signed a tripartite agreement with UNHCR and the Government of Uganda to implement a health  project  aimed at addressing  two goals of emergency operations and care and maintenance of 24,722 (20,269 new caseload and 4,453 old caseload) refugees and asylum seekers in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement  through provision of quality, accessible and sustainable health care services.

However, the project has since then grown to benefit 43,615 refugees, according to the August 2015 Refugee Statistics from the Office of the Prime Minister. This signals a 43% beneficiary increase, it is also recorded that over 20,000 Uganda nationals living within the vicinity of the settlement continue to benefit from the Health Project as a result of quality health services provided.

The refugee population increase has been mainly attributed to the precarious security situation in South Sudan which has resulted in a continuous inflow of refugees to Uganda.  On average 100 asylum-seekers/refugees are received every day in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement from South Sudan. The Office of the Prime Minister has indicated that Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement has not reached its maximum carrying capacity and can still accommodate more families, its agricultural richness, easy access to the capital city Kampala and the Central Business Region in Uganda makes this Settlement very attractive for many South Sudanese Refugees that seek asylum in Uganda.  It is therefore evident that basic and lifesaving services like health will continue to be overstretched by the ever increasing Refugee Populations.

Health Services in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement are delivered to the Refugees through established Health Centers namely: Panyadoli Health Centre III, Panyadoli Hills Health Centre II, Nyakadot Health Center II, and the Reception Centre Clinic, and enhanced by outreach for communities with limited access to the existing health units or located over 5 km from the health facility as per the Ministry of Health access standard.

The health care services were in critical shape by the time Real Medicine Foundation signed the tripartite agreement with UNHCR and the Office of the Prime Minister, since this was the time the influx of the South Sudanese was still at the climax. Challenges were ranging from inadequate staffing, shortage of drugs, poor referral system characterized by both lack of an ambulance and the community structures, poor infrastructure, low demand for health services by the population and absence of a coherent disease surveillance strategy. Additional support from RMF assisted in addressing the highlighted gaps.

Generally the health care service indicators were far below standards. Hence, along the contingent of three objectives implemented by RMF all the indicators have been improved. However, with the ever increasing population, it is evident that pressure is being exerted on the existing health services. In order to sustain results, RMF continues to conduct needs assessments to ascertain the arising needs in order to inform its planning.

                                                                       Project Progress
Objective 1
Health status of the population improved
Objective 2
Access to reproductive health and HIV/AIDS services insufficient or needs constant attention
Objective 3
Operations management and coordination insufficient or needs constant attention
Health workers including the clinical officers, medical doctor, laboratory technicians, nurses, midwives, data clerks, laboratory assistants, pharmacists, counselors with support staff like guards, cleaners, drivers and interpreters have been recruited to enhance access to health services. Children < 5  and  pregnant mothers receive regular vaccinations, routine antenatal care including foliate and iron supplementation, and preventive treatment for malaria. Over 80% staffing norm has been met for the requirements for general project management.
School children receive regular preventive health education, de-worming, and Vitamin A supplementation through school-based health program.  Communities including primary school students >12  years  and teachers have  benefited  from HIV/AIDS awareness campaigns and HCT services. Logistics and supplies for programme management have been provided and all programme mechanisms are functioning well.
100% of the target population has easy access to quality curative services and treatment in three health units. Production and distribution of IEC materials based  on Ministry of Health (MOH)  standards to health facilities, schools and communities. Being the main health implementing partner, RMF takes the lead in organizing health sector bi-weekly meetings involving all other health partners.
All health workers have benefited from tailor made continuous medical training and support supervision programmes. Functional maternity services in the three Health Units,  Antenatal Care, Delivery Care, Post Natal Care, Family Planning,  Sexually Transmitted Disease Management.  
Enhanced Preventive and Community Based Health Care Services with recruitment of 30 community health workers and 01 community health assistant. Effective and timely referrals for ANC, PNC and maternity services – pregnancy mapping by  Community Health Promoters,  training and fuel for ambulance.  
Disease surveillance for AFP, Measles, Hep B + E, Rabies, Viral Hemorrhagic Diseases, Neonatal Tetanus and introduced  Human Papilloma Virus Vaccine (HPV) for girls 9-13 years of age to prevent against Cervical Cancer at Reception Center and all other health units. Community Health Promoters, the Replica of the VHT strategy, are facilitated to carry out home visits, health talks and community referrals for mothers.
General management of health activities at Reception Center with services like ANC, OPD, vaccinations and screening for diseases of epidemic nature and developed an epidemic contingency plan; developed and regularly updated.
Procurement of supplementary drugs to Panyadoli Health Center III on a quarterly basis.
Mentorships by District Health Teams (DHTs) to the midwives  in especially Management of Obstructed Labor and Active Management of Labor by use of partograph, retained placenta, PPH, asphyxia and cord prolapse, prompt referral, insertion and removal of implants.

(L) Children participating during World Refugee Day 2015 at Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement; (R) RMF laboratory team at Panyadoli Health Center III

(L) RMF staff at maternity wing giving antenatal care; (R) Outreach program, RMF immunizing children, adult HIV testing, etc. in communities

(L) RMF nurse in children's ward; (R) Outreach program, RMF immunizing children, adult HIV testing, etc. in communities

The Kenyan Returnees Convoy en route to Kenya, the RMF ambulance and medical team provided medical services up to Malaba Reception Center, Kenya



The project has been implemented in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement as part of the emergency response to the South Sudanese refugee influx. Health services are provided through the established health centers: Panyadoli Hills Health Centre II, Panyadoli Health Centre III, Nyakadot Health Centre II, and the Reception Centre Clinic with community-based care supporting both the refugee and host community.
Funding is provided by UNHCR to aid the influx of refugees and asylum seekers into Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement. The number of refugees is projected to increase. This is due to the political instability in South Sudan, as the cease-fire agreement signed in Ethiopia has not yielded peace as anticipated.
Real Medicine Foundation (RMF) has hired a manager who is responsible for the overall implementation and coordination of planned interventions, whereas OPM and UNHCR do oversight functions. Activities are planned, coordinated, and reviewed on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis through coordination meetings chaired by OPM at the settlement level.


  • Emergency operations
  • Care and maintenance of refugees and asylum seekers in Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement through the delivery of quality health care services
  • Ensure optimal access to reproductive health and HIV/AIDS services