Humedica assures medical care for Sudanese refugees

by Simone Hofmann, Lina Koch,  2014/07/08

Uganda, this is the country of a unique nature and big waters on the one hand, but also the country of the many refugees on the other hand. Again and again, thousands of people from the neighboring countries like South Sudan or the Democratic Republic of Congo, suffering from conflicts, have flooded the country, thus causing challenges which this small state alone is hardly able to meet.

Thanks to the support of the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, humedica helps in the north of the country, where ten thousands of South Sudanese have searched shelter from the violence in their home country. Simone Hofmann has been on-site as an assistant coordinator and explains how humedica helps:

“For months, an uncountable number of people have left South Sudan and fled into the Ugandan province Arua. In their home country, riots and clashes between different adverse parties are causing fear and despair amongst its population. For many, flight seems to be the only way out. What is especially tragic: Most of the refugees are children under 18.

A place of refuge for these people is the Rhino Camp, where the refugees find accommodation in simple huts. In addition to that, they receive a piece of land from the Ugandan government, in order to do some agriculture for not becoming dependent on the food distributions of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

Thus, their subsistence is secured for the present and if there is anything left, they can sell it for some Ugandan Schilling on the market.

In cooperation with the partner organization Medical Teams International (MTI), humedica has worked in two medical centers in the Rhino Camp. One of them is near the small village Olujobo. The center comprises two treatment rooms, one laboratory, one medicine room and a waiting area with many benches in the shadow.

In order to keep the center running, humedica preferably employs local workers. In this way, we do not only invest into the country and the region, but also the mutual comprehension and the cultural empathy are being strengthened.

In average, about 150 patients come to Olujobo every day. After being examined and treated by Dr. Francis and his assistants Julie and Richard, most of them can immediately go back home. Weak refugees will stay for observation and especially serious cases are being transferred to the next hospital.

On two days of the week, a humedica team also goes directly into the refugee settlements of the Rhino Camp with a mobile clinic, to treat those patients who are too weak or too old for the long way on foot to Olujobo.

For some weeks now, there has been an enclosed isolation ward on the brink of the health center, which can only be entered by the patients’ attendants and the medical staff. The reason for this installation is the protection from cholera. Because of the proximity to the Nile, bad hygiene and, not least, lacking knowledge, there is a sporadic outbreak of this disease every year during the wet season.

So, people who are suspected of suffering from cholera are being transferred to this ward and receive the urgently needed infusions there. Every mattress is taken and there are also small children, waiting for a quick recovery.

Moreover, in order to help the refugees effectively, there are teaching units for men and women who talk English a bit. They learn how to accompany patients from the camps to the Health center and receive a training on how to avoid diseases best. They then can communicate their knowledge to the other inhabitants of the refugee camp.

humedica’s second Health center is in a reception camp called Ocea. There, the center is a bit smaller, but it cares for nearly as many patients as in Olujobo. Every Monday morning, the waiting room is bursting at the seams. Luckily, there are enough seats in the shadow, which protect from the sun, which is burning hot already in the morning.

There are especially children, breastfeeding mothers and old women who are packed on the many benches. The responsible assistant doctor Yusuf treats one patient after the other with much patience and care. From Monday to Friday, one week after the other.

During a visit in Ocea, I come to know Gloria, who works as a translator for humedica. She speaks five languages and her biggest dream is to become a nurse. She has already done part of her training, but she hasn’t graduated yet. She is saving all her pay for that.

On a tour around the camp, she shows me the school nearby. It is closed because it’s the holidays, that’s why the children are playing soccer in front of it. A little bit further on, there is the fountain, around which there is hustle and bustle. Children and women pump the water and then they carry the heavy canisters back to their huts, sometimes for hours on their heads.

This picture nearly seems to be everyday life. An everyday life which isn’t true and which makes it impossible for the people to lead a carefree life. Reason enough, to continue the work in our two Health centers and to help the refugees in Uganda.”

Medical care, accurate and in time, saves lives. humedica needs your support, in order to be able to assure this medical care for the refugees in Uganda also in the future. Please be by our side in this project, too, with a directed donation. Thank you very much!

      humedica e. V.
      keyword "refugees Uganda"
      account nb. 47 47
      bank code 734 500 00
      bank Sparkasse Kaufbeuren

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