Since the outbreak of the armed conflict, some 2.4 million South Sudanese have left their country. Almost half of them have found refuge in neighbouring Uganda. By the end of 2017, the total number of refugees in Uganda tripled to 1.4 million within two years. Johanniter conducts preventive activities in the health sector.
Uganda is regarded as a model country for the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. Refugees receive legally guaranteed protection and freedom of movement as well as the right to work and start businesses. Furthermore, refugees have access to social services and land is allocated to them. The aim of the policy framework is to ensure that aid efforts benefit both refugees and the local population. Especially in northern Uganda, where most South Sudanese refugees live, also the local population is often affected by malnutrition. Bad roads and poorly functioning social service facilities represent further challenges in the region. With the increase of population due to the arrival of refugees local resources and social systems are overstrained. Uganda therefore depends on external support to ensure adequate care for refugees and the hosting communities alike.
On 27 June 2018, Johanniter has signed a joint statement by 26 international NGOs in Uganda on the need for urgent action to address gaps in funding for the refugee response. Find the statement here
Existing health centres often operate at the limit, the quality of patient care is deteriorating. For this reason, Johanniter focusses in its work in Uganda on prevention of disease. In consequence, less people fall sick and health facilities have to deal with lower numbers of patients. In the refugee camp Palabek, Johanniter and its local partner organisation PACHEDO support mother-child groups in which mothers exchange good feeding practices for infants and young children. In addition, they receive training on how to prepare and cook food as gently as possible to preserve valuable nutrients as well as on good hygiene practices when handling food. This aims to contribute to the reduction of disease transmission. Infants are regularly examined for malnutrition to receive medical treatment as early as possible if necessary.
Water and sanitation coverage is often below international standards in the settlements for South Sudanese refugees. In Palorinya Camp, Johanniter and its partner organisation GLOBAL AIM educate people about good hygiene practices to reduce risks of transmission of infectious diseases. Especially at schools, Johanniter trains so-called School Hygiene Clubs. Children and young people learn there more about hygiene rules and receive suggestions on how they can improve hygiene in the school environment and at home through playful activities. Young girls are trained in the production of reusable sanitary pads to reduce school drop-outs or exclusion. Girls often stay at home due to a lack of sanitary materials and privacy in schools.