There has been a reported increase in pneumonia cases in the Nakivale refugee settlement in Isingiro District. Pneumonia is an acute respiratory infection that affects the lungs and presents symptoms such as chest pain when breathing or coughing, and fatigue.
The settlement is home to 168,946 refugees from 12 nationalities, most of whom are relocated from Nyakabande refugee reception center in Kisoro district and settled across three zones of Juru Basecamp and Rubondo zone.
Dr. Gelard Naluwairo, the public health officer at Nakivale settlement, points out that pneumonia is common among children under the age of five and the elderly, who tend to have low immunity, making them vulnerable to such infections.
He attributes the high prevalence to the settlement’s high population and congested accommodation setup, which increase the transmission rate of respiratory tract infections.
Eric Kidega, the Coordinator of Medical Teams International at Rubondo Health Center III, notes that despite registering more patients with pneumonia at the outpatient department, other ailments such as malnutrition, malaria, and non-communicable diseases remain a challenge.
He adds that the facility is a government health center, and the medicines that the government sends are not sufficient to cater to the over 70,000 people from the catchment, while the facility’s standard catchment is 20,000 people.
Thomas Muhirambabazi, the chairperson of Village Health Teams Rubondo Zone in Nakivale refugee Settlement, confirms an increase in pneumonia cases in the settlement, noting that they refer over five people every day to the health center.
The European Union (EU) recently announced an additional 15 million Euro fund, amounting to 61 billion shillings, to Uganda as humanitarian aid targeting water, sanitation and hygiene activities, health, energy, education, and the environment for both refugees and host communities.