Key medical figures:
• 52,900 outpatient consultations
• 6,500 patients on first-line ARV treatment
• 570 patients under treatment for TB
In Uganda, the rate of HIV infection is on the rise again, after decreasing for many years. The country has also had to host large numbers of refugees arriving from Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan.
After several years of progress in the fight against HIV, and large increases in the number of people being tested and treated for the virus, the rate of new infections has risen since 2010. Test kits and condoms are difficult to obtain in several areas of the country; meanwhile it is estimated that one-third of women and half of men with HIV are not aware of their status. Specialised care, such as prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) and the combined treatment of tuberculosis (TB) and severe malnutrition, is often unavailable.
In West Nile region, the prevalence of HIV among adults aged 15 to 49 is about five per cent and has almost doubled since 2005. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working in the region to help improve access to care and reduce HIV-related mortality.
For several years, MSF teams have treated people with HIV and TB through a programme based at the Arua regional referral hospital. Care is provided to people living in the district as well as to a significant number of patients from neighbouring DRC. Activities include PMTCT and ensuring people infected with both HIV and TB receive the necessary integrated care.
After a 12-year presence in Arua, MSF has started to hand over medical activities to local authorities and their partner SUSTAIN, and will close the project in July 2014. This follows both an increase in the local ability to provide medical care for people with HIV and TB and a reorientation of MSF’s work in the country.
Emergency care for refugees
The conflict in North Kivu province, DRC, caused between 40,000 and 50,000 refugees to cross into western Uganda between May and the end of July. An estimated 22,000 people reached the Bubukwanga transit camp, near Bundibugyo. Originally designed for 12,500 people, the camp lacked sufficient shelters, latrines and drinking water for the increased numbers. MSF began providing medical care in July. Patients were suffering mainly from respiratory infections, malaria and diarrhoea. Teams also built latrines and trucked in water. Some refugees have since been transferred by the Ugandan authorities to the Kyangwali camp to ease pressure on resources. MSF provided healthcare to the 33,000 people in Kyangwali camp from September to the end of November. A total of 25,000 consultations were conducted and 1,500 people were admitted to hospital.
No. staff end 2013: 358 | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1986