Tanzania

OUR COVID-19 RESPONSE IN TANZANIA

We are the main healthcare provider in Nduta refugee camp in Western Tanzania, which hosts over 73,000 Burundian refugees. Burundian refugees in Tanzania are the most underfunded refugee group in the world, according to the UN Refugee Agency, while Kigoma region, where Nduta is located, is one of the poorest regions in Tanzania. Consequently, both refugees and the host community are especially vulnerable to an outbreak.

Our preparedness efforts are focusing on strengthening systems, implementing new measures, and health promotion to sensitise and educate the community on hygiene and best health practices.

We have completed construction of triage and isolation areas at each of its four health clinics. People who are suspected to have been infected with COVID-19 will be referred to the MSF hospital where a central isolation centre is also being built. Currently we have 50-60 isolation beds available, with the ability to scale up to 100 if needed.

There is an urgent need for greater international support of the COVID-19 response in Tanzania, to increase the capacity to isolate and treat people with COVID-19, as well as reinforce testing across Kigoma. 

 

Can you make a donation to support our COVID-19 response?

Right now, Médecins Sans Frontières is providing much needed support and medical care in over 30 countries to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
 
Our teams are also gearing up to confront potential outbreaks in the hundreds of areas we were already working before the pandemic struck. We are deploying medical staff, sending supplies and applying nearly 50 years of experience fighting epidemics to protect the most vulnerable and save lives.
 
Can you help increase our capacity to respond by making a donation to our COVID-19 Crisis Appeal?

 

DONATE NOW

 

 

 

Tanzania is home to two of the world's most renowned tourism destinations - Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro, and wildlife-rich national parks such as the Serengeti.

Médecins Sans Frontières has worked in Tanzania since 1993. We have been providing healthcare to Burundian and Congolese refugees living in Kigoma Region, as well as to members of the Tanzanian host community since 2015. Our work in the country has focused on providing responses to endemic and epidemic diseases, social violence and healthcare exclusion. 

Despite relative domestic stability, few of Tanzania's 57 million-plus people benefit from economic prosperity. Many live below the World Bank poverty line.

Refugee Influx 

Humanitarian organisations struggle to provide adequate assistance for the hundreds of thousands of refugees seeking shelter in the country. By the end of 2016 Tanzania was hosting over a quarter of a million Burundian and Congolese refugees crammed into three overstretched camps (Nyarugusu, Nduta and Mtendeli).

In January 2017, the Tanzanian government revoked the prima facie status of Burundian refugees, meaning that automatic refugee status was not granted to new arrivals in the country, and each person's refugee status must be determined individually.

Due to continuing unrest, people continued to pour across the border. This has put additional pressure on the already full and overstretched camps, all of which have long since exceeded their intended capacity. Humanitarian organisations working there have struggled to provide adequate shelter, water and sanitation.

MSF213106.jpg

Women and children search for water near the edge of the small Bururuma River that borders the Nduta refugee camp in Tanzania. Overcrowding and unhygienic communal shelters have exacerbated the spread of diseases - particularly malaria, gastrointestinal infections, skin diseases, and respiratory tract infections. © Erwan Rogard / MSF

To meet the increased demand for care, MSF expanded services across three camps. MSF has been involved in advocacy for the scaling up of assistance.  

New arrivals come by bus, first crossing the border point, then entering transit camps. Many must queue for hours in the reception centre to receive their daily meals. Some refugees have already been allocated a shelter but have not received their refugee card and dry food rations. They must return every day to the reception centre to get a warm meal.

MSF is present at the reception centre to screen all new arrivals. Medical teams have seen a big increase in the number of consultations, both at the reception centres, in MSF’s hospital, and four health posts.

A lot of them arrive exhausted and in bad health condition. We do their medical check-up and send those in need to MSF clinics or refer them to the hospital. They also get vaccinated, and pregnant women are scheduled for antenatal consultations. When I [first arrived], there were around five deliveries per day. Now we have around 12.

Sally Parker
Midwife

Nduta Camp 

MSF is the primary healthcare provider in Nduta camp, which has grown to double its intended capacity. Hospital services included maternal care, nutritional support, paediatric and adult inpatient departments, and an emergency room. Specialised outpatient services, such as treatment for HIV, malaria and tuberculosis, are also provided. 

The spread of disease is exacerbated by overcrowded and unhygienic communal shelters. Despite comprehensive malaria prevention and control activities in the camp, including rapid access to diagnosis and treatment, the infection rate remains very high during the rainy season. MSF teams distribute mosquito nets in areas identified as being high-risk due to the concentration of mosquitoes and the incidence of malaria. 

Diarrhoea, respiratory infections and skin diseases are also prevalent due to inadequate conditions. Potential outbreaks of cholera are also a concern, particularly during the rainy season. The vast majority of admissions to our health posts are children.  

Protracted encampment and a general sense of insecurity in the camp, together with helplessness about what the future holds, contributes to growing mental health needs among the refugees.

MSF carries out mental health consultations for displaced people and the local population.

Speaking out Case Study

Rwandan Refugee Camps in Zaire and Tanzania 1994-1995

Following the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, nearly 2 million ethnic Hutus fled across the border into eastern DRC, as well as Tanzania and Burundi, where they settled in large refugee camps. Humanitarian access to the camps was severely limited, or outright denied; and refugees were subjected to targeted armed attacks by Rwandan and Burundian armies, as well as the AFDL (Alliance of Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Congo) forces.

MSF tried to provide aid to both refugees and local populations caught in the fighting. These teams came face to face with the AFDL’s and the Rwandan army’s bloody methods, which included using humanitarian organisations as a lure to draw refugees out of hiding.

In the years since the atrocity, MSF released a detailed case study, highlighting the dilemmas that emerge from humanitarian involvement in conflict situations. The report outlines the decision for MSF staff to speak out.

Find out more about Tanzania

Médecins Sans Frontières has been working in Afghanistan since 1980, providing emergency surgical care, responding to conflict and natural disasters, and treating people cut off from healthcare. 

MSF worked in Angola from 1983 until 2007. Why were we there? Armed conflict Endemic/Epidemic disease Social violence/Healthcare exclusion

MSF worked in Argentina from 2001 until 2003. Why were we there? Providing essential medicines and supplies

MSF worked in Belgium from 1987 to 2009

Why are we there? Endemic/epidemic disease

Why are we there? Endemic/epidemic disease Social violence/healthcare exclusion Natural disaster

Why are we there? Endemic/Epidemic disease

Cameroon is facing multiple and overlapping crises, including recurrent epidemics, malnutrition due to food insecurity, displacement, and conflict.

Why are we there? Armed conflict Endemic/epidemic disease Healthcare exclusion

Why are we there? Armed conflict Healthcare exclusion Natural disaster

The political, economic and military crises of 2002-2010 have taken a severe toll on the Ivorian health system.

MSF worked in Ecuador until 2007. Why were we there? Endemic/Epidemic disease Natural disaster

Find out more about MSF's work in Egypt

In France, we work with migrants and refugees, who encounter policies and practices aimed at preventing them from settling or claiming their rights.

Why are we there? Healthcare exclusion

Why are we there? Armed conflict Endemic/epidemic disease Social violence/heathcare exclusion

Why are we there? Endemic/epidemic disease

Haiti’s healthcare system remains precarious in the wake of natural disasters and ongoing political and economic crises. Ongoing disasters have led to Haiti becoming the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere.

Honduras has experienced years of political, economic and social instability, and has one of the highest rates of violence in the world. This has great medical, psychological and social consequences for people.

An MSF team in Hong Kong opened a project at the end of January focusing on health education for vulnerable people. Community engagement is a crucial activity of any outbreak response and in Hong Kong, this focuses on groups who are less likely to have access to important medical information, such as the socio-economically disadvantaged. The team is also targeting those who are more vulnerable to developing severe disease if they are infected, such as the elderly.

MSF worked in Indonesia between 1995 and 2009 Why were we there? Natural disaster

Find out about MSF's work in Iran

Why we are there? Healthcare exclusion Natural disaster

Why are we there? Natural disasters

Jordan hosts over 700,000 refugees, according to the UNHCR, many of whom reside in camps or have settled in the country.

Why are we there? Endemic/epidemic disease Healthcare exclusion

Why are we there? Healthcare exclusion

Although health services are being progressively restored in Liberia, important gaps persist, notably in specialised paediatric care and mental health.

Libya remains fragmented by a decade of conflict and political instability. The breakdown of law and order, the collapse of the economy, and fighting have decimated the healthcare system.

Why are we there? Endemic/epidemic disease Natural disaster

Access to medical care remains very limited in the north and centre of Mali due to a lack of medical staff and supplies and spiralling violence between armed groups.

Why are we there? Access to healthcare

In Mozambique we are responding to emergencies including disease outbreaks, providing care to people with advanced HIV, while also working in the conflict-ridden Cabo-Delgado province.

Why are we there? Endemic/epidemic disease Social violence/healthcare exclusion

Why are we there? Providing comprehensive emergency healthcare to people in remote regions of Pakistan is a priority, yet accessibility and security are a constraint for both Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and patients.

Why are we there? Armed conflict Healthcare exclusion

MSF worked in Rwanda from 1991 until 2007.
Why were we there? Conflict Healthcare exclusion Endemic/Epidemic disease

Why are we there? Endemic/epidemic disease Healthcare exclusion

Why are we there? Armed conflict Endemic/epidemic disease Healthcare exclusion

Why were we there? Endemic/epidemic disease Healthcare exclusion

Why are we there? Refugee assistance

Why are we there? Healthcare exclusion

Why are we there? Armed conflict Endemic/Epidemic disease Healthcare exclusion

Why were we there? Healthcare exclusion

Why are we there? Endemic/epidemic disease

Why are we there? Endemic/epidemic disease Social violence Healthcare exclusion