IPPF-SPRINT Initiative to provide humanitarian assistance to the Burundi Refugees in Uganda

RHU entrance

July 07, 2015: New Delhi/Nairobi: The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) through The SPRINT Initiative is providing humanitarian assistance and sexual and reproductive health services in South Western Uganda-in Nakivale and other refugee settlements.

More than7000 Burundi refugees have arrived in Nakivale and other adjoining areas, following a political crisis in Burundi.The majority of refugees are women, out of which 70% are estimated to be of reproductive age. According to an assessment report produced by the Office of Prime Minister (OPM) in early June, there was an immediate need for sexual and reproductive health services. Apart from family planning services; maternal and newborn care and HIV sensitisation have been identified as priorities. The assessment also talks about care for HIV patients and streamlining SRH services.

More than a third of maternal deaths worldwide occur in crisis settings. In crisis situations, there is a lack of access to basic emergency-obstetric services and only a small proportion of deliveries are attended by skilled service providers, leading to preventable maternal and newborn morbidity. Sexual and gender based violence can increase during conflicts, as does the transmission of Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV. In conflict situations, the vulnerability of populations to these serious Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) related problems increase drastically. Unfortunately,due to the rapid and sudden influx of refugees the local health facilities are not able to keep up, thereby increasing a desperate need for SRH and medical services.

This humanitarian response is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) of the Australian Government. IPPF-SPRINT will be working with IPPF-AR (Africa Region)‘s Member Association- Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) to implement the Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) on-ground.

RHU and IPPF-SPRINT will work closely with the government and various other stakeholders and partners and will set up clinics in the Isingiro district of South-West Uganda.

These clinics will offer health check-ups, safe delivery and care of newborns, post-natal care to pregnant and lactating women,as well as provide family planning and reproductive health care to women and men. Together with RHU, IPPF-SPRINT will reach out to approximately 15,000 beneficiaries with these critical SRH services. An amount of USD 34,099 from SPRINT has been mobilised to provide these lifesaving SRH services.

“The last influx of refugees from Burundi to Uganda reminded us that we have a long way to go in terms of conflict resolution. IPPF AR is committed to work with the Government of Uganda and UN agencies to provide the necessary SRH services through its member association in Uganda, the Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU). Our role will be to prevent and minimize negative consequences of SRH challenges by providing effective and timely services for children, mothers and other vulnerable groups,” said Lucien Kouakou, Regional Director, IPPF-ARO.

“IPPF-SPRINT will implement the MISP in the Isingiro district to minimise negative health outcomes and will deliver on IPPF’s mandate to reach out and provide SRH services to the most vulnerable, neglected and hard to reach communities worldwide,” said Aditi Ghosh, Acting Director, The SPRINT Initiative.