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Since its independence from Britain in 1962, Uganda has endured coups and wars. More recently, the landlocked East-African nation has transformed itself from a country with a troubled past to one of relative stability.


In a country where 1.4 million people are living with HIV. Despite significant improvements, HIV detection and care remain a public health concern in specific groups of people, such as fishing communities, children and adolescents.

Women and young women are disproportionately affected. There are many political and cultural barriers which have hindered effective HIV prevention programming in Uganda.  Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to life-threatening health risks related to unwanted pregnancies, unsafe abortion, HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted infections, due to a lack of awareness about these risks, and the shortage of youth-friendly sexual health and counselling services.


HIV testing in Katwe

MSF opened an adolescent centre in Kasese town in 2015, which offers sexual and reproductive healthcare, support for victims of sexual violence, as well as community awareness-raising and recreational activities that encourage adolescents to seek medical consultations.

In the three districts around lakes George and Edward (Kasese, Kamwenge and Ruburizi), we offer tuberculosis (TB) prevention, screening and treatmentrun a project to improve detection and care for HIV, and organise malaria prevention activities in fishing communities.

The 2016 HIV Impact Assessment (UPHIA) indicated a fall in HIV national prevalence at 6% compared to 7.3% according to the 2011 Uganda AIDS Indicator Survey.

While the country has won praise for its vigorous campaign against HIV/AIDS it has also attracted international attention for its harsh stance against the LGBT community.

Care for Sudanese Refugees

Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled to northern Uganda following violence in South Sudan.

Approximately one million are from the southern belt of South Sudan (Greater Equatoria region) who fled after intense fighting erupted in their country in July 2016. 85% of those fleeing over the border were women and children.

Despite the efforts of the Ugandan authorities and other organisations, the provision of aid has been insufficient to meet the urgent needs of so many people.


Uganda currently hosts the highest number of refugees of any African country.

Refugees are being put in an unimaginable position – to go without food and water, or risk their lives in a conflict just so they can eat.

Dr. Leon Salumu
MSF Program Manager

MSF is currently working in four refugee settlements in Uganda’s northwest – Bidi BidiImvepiPalorinya and Rhino. Teams run healthcare consultations, offer mental health support and care for victims of sexual violence, provide maternity care and nutritional care, carry out vaccination campaigns, and conduct community health surveillance activities.

Settlements suffer from inadequate resources, coupled with poor water and sanitation conditions, and a shortage of food. Following cuts to the monthly food rations distributed by the World Food Programme, the number of people critically short of food in the settlements is a growing concern. 

Refugees are resorting to registering in multiple settlements because they are desperate for food rations and water, and there are reports of inconsistent or incomplete core relief item distributions in the settlements. 


South Sudanese refugees : Imvepi and Bidibidi refugee camps

Refugees receive seven litres of water per person per day. Access to water in the settlements is dependent on water trucking, a hugely expensive system often derailed by poor road conditions. 

MSF’s logistics team work to improve access to drinking water, supplying an average of two million litres of water per day at the peak of activities. In some areas, up to 80% of the population is completely dependent on water treated by MSF.

Due to the complex nature of Ugandan importation procedures for medical supplies, MSF’s health interventions have been complicated, and at times postponed. Common issues in refugee settlements such as complicated deliveries, and eye and skin diseases, may be suspended for months at a time because of the lengthy bureaucratic requirements for importing emergency health kits and medical supplies. 


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