A severe outbreak of malaria and typhoid has been reported at Sango Bay resettlement Camp in Rakai district.
The outbreak comes at a time when the camp has also run out of drugs putting more than 4,200 lives at risk. Most affected are women and children below the age of twelve.
The camp located about 20KM from Kakuuto town has a total population of 4,265 refugees who include Ugandan returnees as well as Congolese and Rwanda nationals, most of whom are victims of the Tanzanian expulsion effected by President Jakaya Kikwete in August.
Red Pepper Online visited the camp and found dozens of patients including children and adults patiently waiting for medication at a small health unit set up within the camp. Mothers were nursing their sick children while patients in life threatening conditions were referred to Kakuuto Health Centre IV.
Fidel Echimu, the only Police Nursing Officer handling patients in the camp, attributes the outbreak to unsafe water, poor sanitation, and lack of mosquito nets, poor feeding and absence of latrines, among others.
According to Echimu, at least 80 patients visit the small medical centre every day. He sid that that very complicated cases are being referred to Kakuuto Health Centre due to inadequate healthcare facilities.
Echimu confirmed that several cases of severe malaria, typhoid, malnutrition and anemia were first noticed three weeks ago and were dealt with. At that time there were plenty of drugs in stock and the population was minimal.
Now the number is higher following the relocation of immigrant’s from Kikagati and Isingiro, and the drugs have run out, he adds.
Sikolastika Kyalikunda, one of the parents who were patiently waiting for medical attention, has a 10 month- old-baby Fortunate Nabasa who is suffering from severe malaria and anemia.
She explains that Nabasa fell sick two weeks before they were expelled from Tanzania and when they reached Kikagati Settlement camp in Isingiro district she could not get help because there were no medical facilities and personnel in place.
Another parent Cyrus Beyanga 40, whose child is admitted at Kakuuto Health Centre IV in critical condition are explains that his 5 year-old son fell sick a day after arriving at Sango Bay camp but the health centre at the camp could not handle his case.
Dr. David Moses Mudooba, the Kakuuto HCIV In-Charge confirmed the situation saying that patients were referred because of inadequate health resources and health professionals at the camp and the cases needed an expert to handle due to their complexity.
He adds that they receive 7 patients from the camp with very complicated cases daily and yet the hospital is also constrained and soon running out of drugs and blood.
Mathius Kasamba, the Kakuuto County Member of Parliament toured the camp and verified the situation. He says that medical doctors and more aid workers should be recruited to help before the situation gets out of hand.
He says that all children in this camp need to be immunized, tested and diagnosed in order to eliminate eventualities.
SP. Godfrey Maate, the Officer in Charge of Sango Bay Settlement Camp is convinced that immigrants are complying to ensure good sanitation in the camp. He explains that there 1351 families settled in this camp and all have been divided in cells.
Maate further says that each cell was assigned to dig 5 pit latrines to avoid littering feces that may spark off an outbreak of diseases such as cholera in the camp.