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Thousands of refugees and Ugandans set to benefit as U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative joins Government and UN agencies in fight against malaria

TUESDAY 15 MARCH 2016 – Kampala, Uganda – The United States President’s Malaria Initiative, led by the U.S. Agency for International Development, has joined forces with the Government of Uganda, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in the battle against malaria by donating more than a quarter of a million mosquito nets for people living in refugee settlements in Uganda. The nets, which has been treated with insecticide and are made to be especially long-lasting, are expected to protect thousands of refugees and Ugandans from malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Malaria continues to be the leading cause of death amongst people living in refugee-hosting districts. Efforts to tackle the problem include clearing of breeding places, early diagnosis and treatment but by far the best way to bring down deaths from malaria is to prevent people from catching it in the first place. The donated nets are expected to help prevent some of the 86 deaths from malaria that happen amongst the refugee population every year.

The nets will be distributed across all the refugee settlements in Uganda. The official launch will take place at Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement on Tuesday 15th March, attended by Ministry of Health Programme Manager Jimmy Opigo, Commissioner for Refugees David Apollo Kazungu, USAID Health Office Director Margaret Sancho, USAID Malaria Technical Advisor Brian Kapella, UNHCR Representative to Uganda Neimah Warsame, WHO Representative Dr. Wondimagegnehu Alemu, UNICEF Health Specialist Dr. Rabin Drabe and UNFPA Country Representative Esperance Fundira.

“Since PMI activities started in Uganda, all-cause mortality in children under five has decreased by 34%. We expect this new contribution of long-lasting insecticide treated bednets will contribute to better health outcomes for these often marginalized populations who suffer disproportionately from malaria,” said Mark Meassick, USAID Deputy Mission Director.

Commissioner for Refugees David Apollo Kazungu expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Government for the donation.

“We thank the President’s Malaria Initiative for their generous donation, which will go a long way to tackling the problem of malaria in the refugee settlements,” said Kazungu. “A healthy population is a strong population and a productive population. By tacking malaria, we can help refugees and Ugandans alike to make the most of their abundant talents.”

The donation of the nets is anchored within the Refugee and Host Population Empowerment (ReHoPE) strategy, an innovative partnership between the Government of Uganda, the UN Country Team, World Bank, and private sector and developmental partners, which seeks to enhance refugee management and protection by integrating refugee assistance with local service delivery systems whilst attempting to gradually enhance refugee and host communities’ socio-economic resilience and prospects for self-reliance. The nets will work in supplement to the efforts of local health service delivery systems to supplement malaria prevention activities, under the guidance of the Refugee Health Technical Working Group, led by the Ministry of Health, serving the
Government and ReHoPE’s dual ambitions of integrating development assistance within the refugee humanitarian response.

“The importance of this donation cannot be underestimated,” said UNHCR Representative to Uganda Neimah Warsame. “Our health is our wealth, and it is by no means a stretch to say that these nets will save hundreds of lives. Many of those lives will be young lives, who will go on to become the future leaders of tomorrow.”

“UNICEF is ready to work with partners to promote the proper use of nets,” said UNICEF Representative to Uganda Aida Girma. “We will endeavor to ensure that refugees and Ugandans enjoy increased access to life saving commodities, particularly artemisinin-based combination therapy.”

Uganda is currently host to more than half a million refugees and asylum-seekers. In 2015 alone, more than 100,000 people sought safety in Uganda, the vast majority fleeing war and human rights abuses in South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Burundi. Uganda has a long history of provided sanctuary to refugees and its policy of integrating refugees within local communities, rather than in camps, is widely considered as an exemplary model. Acknowledging the outstanding generosity of local Ugandan communities in welcoming refugees, the humanitarian response in refugee-hosting areas ensures that at least 30% of their efforts goes towards assisting local Ugandans.

For further information, please contact:

On the President’s Malaria Initiative:
USAID: Betty Kagoro, Development Outreach and Communication, bkagoro@usaid.gov; www.pmi.gov

On the delivery of healthcare in Uganda:
Ministry of Health: Jimmy Opigo, Programme Manager, 0772 962 601

On the refugee situation in Uganda and the wider region:
UNHCR: Charlie Yaxley, UN Refugee Agency, External Relations Officer: +256 (0) 776 720 045, yaxley@unhcr.org

Office of the Prime Minister: John-Paul Magezi, Protection Officer, 0782462599

 

 
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