17,000 Congolese refugees to be vaccinated against Cholera, Covid

Congolese refugees lining up for Covid 19 vaccination at Nyakabande refugee transit camp in Kisoro district on April 27, 2022. PHOTO/ROBERT MUHEREZA

What you need to know:

  • Meanwhile, traffic flow of Congo bound trucks from Uganda through Bunagana border post was on Wednesday morning at stand still following fresh fighting between the Congolese army and the M23 rebels.

The Kisoro District health department has received 30,000 dozes of cholera vaccines to vaccinate over 17,000 Congolese refugees currently camped at Nyakabande Refugee transit camp.

“We have received extra 2,000 dozes of Covid-19 vaccines that we are yet to give to other Congolese refugees. We have already vaccinated 3, 000 refugees,” the Kisoro assistant District Health Officer in charge of maternal child health and vaccination, Ms Annet Dusabe, revealed.

In March 2022, fighting between the Congolese government soldiers and the M23 rebels displaced thousands of Congolese nationals living in the Rutshuru North Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and are now in Southern Uganda.

 “While screening for Covid-19, we registered two positive cases among the refugees and we offered the required health care and they are now out of danger,” Ms Dusabe disclosed.

According to her, about 500 refugee children have been vaccinated against polio and measles.

“It’s our wish to vaccinate as many refugees as possible but lack of vaccines in our major challenge,” Ms Dusabe said 

She explained that vaccination against cholera shall begin on April 30 while health education amongst the refugees shall be continuous.

Fresh fighting

Meanwhile, traffic flow of Congo bound trucks from Uganda through Bunagana border post was on Wednesday morning at stand still following fresh fighting between the Congolese army and the M23 rebels.

“Fresh fighting happened in areas of Bugusa and Kinyamuhura in Rutshuro, North Kivu province which is about 13km from the Bunagana border,” Kisoro Resident District Commissioner (RDC) Hajji Shafiq Sekandi said after an April 27 afternoon joint security meeting with officials of Congolese armed forces at Bunagana.

 The fresh fighting forced over 200 more Congolese refugees to cross into Uganda for the safety as dozens of cargo trucks headed for Goma were parked at Bunagana for fear of being attacked on the way.  

Avoid disease outbreak

The Kisoro Uganda Red Cross manager Ms Prime Rose Natukunda said plans are under way to increase latrine coverage to avoid potential disease outbreak resulting from poor sanitation.

“We are planning to construct about 107 latrine stances in addition to the 253 that we have at Nyakabande refuge transit camp. The current ratio of latrine use stands at 1:71 which is high and we need to lower it as soon as possible. We are installing a 10,000 Litre water tank on the new site at Nyakabande where the new Congolese refugee arrivals are being received,” Ms Natukunda said.

Red Cross has also deployed volunteers at all Ugandan border posts with the DR Congo to guide the new asylum seekers on how to access refugee camps.

“Since mid-April, Uganda has been receiving an average of 500 Congolese refugees on a daily basis- and so far about 1,898 of these have been relocated from Nyakabande refuge transit camp in Kisoro district to Nakivale refugee settlement camp in Isingiro District,” Mr Douglas Asiimwe, commissioner in charge of refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister told this publication.  

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.