- Uganda remains free of Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) as of March 2019. UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Health (MoH) in extending the National Ebola Preparedness Plan through to September 2019 due to the continued risk of disease importation from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
During the reporting period, 43,364 children (20,249 boys and 23,115 girls) were immunized against measles in refugee-hosting districts.
A total of 399 unaccompanied and separated refugee children (199 boys and 200 girls) in alternative care placements in West Nile benefitted from follow-up visits, placements, and referrals by UNICEF and partners.
UNICEF, in collaboration with MoH and Uganda’s Infectious Diseases Institute, conducted mentorship and coaching for 45 health workers in West Nile focusing on the elimination of motherto-child transmission of HIV/AIDS (e-MTCT) among refugees and host communities.
Concerns about the food security and the nutrition situation in Karamoja and Teso have been raised due to drier-than-usual conditions in March and forecasts of below-average rainfall for April.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
According to UNHCR and Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Uganda is host to 1,223,033 refugees as of 28 February 2019, with 95 per cent living in settlements in 11 of Uganda’s 128 districts, and five per cent living in Kampala. Sixty per cent of the refugee population are children. Most refugees are from either South Sudan (801,555), the DRC (326,383), or Burundi (36,256). According to UNHCR, while the refugee influx from South Sudan to Uganda continues, there are recent reports of voluntary returns to South Sudan. UNHCR and OPM are following up with colleagues in South Sudan to ensure the safety of voluntary returnees. If such information is confirmed, the Uganda contingency plan for refugees from South Sudan will be revised accordingly.
Ebola Preparedness and Response Overview: Uganda remains Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) free as of March 2019, although the risk of EVD importation remains very high given the continuous spread of EVD in DRC and significant cross-border population movements from DRC into Uganda. Surveillance of border points and community-based surveillance for EVD continues, including coordinated cross-border contact tracing, to ensure prompt detection of EVD cases and timely initiation of management and control activities.
Measles Overview: Uganda continues to experience measles outbreaks in 38 districts (nine of which are refugee-hosting). Outbreaks are attributed to frequent stock-outs of measles vaccines at the district and health facility levels, compounded by irregular outreach activities. The basic causes are related to chronic underfunding of traditional vaccines, stagnated funding for primary health care services in the context of rapid population growth, and delayed implementation of measles Supplementary Immunization Activities (SIAs).
Climate change: Concerns about the food security and nutrition situation in Karamoja and Teso have been raised due to drier-than-usual conditions in March and forecasts of below-average rainfall for April. The impact of poor rainfall on food security and nutrition could be serious as 2019 could become a second failed season for Karamoja after a below-average season in 2018. SAM admissions in the last few months have shown a higher trend than in previous years.
The District Water Officers in Nakapiripit, Kaabong, Amudat and Moroto do report some water stress although figures are not provided yet. In Loro sub county in Amudat a number of boreholes have dried up, forcing people to move long distances in search for water; while in Nakapiripirt, the pressure from incoming cattle from the Pokots from Kenya, is being felt and some pastoralists migrated with their herds to Teso.