Uganda + 1 more

Medical Teams International Responds to World's Fastest-Growing Refugee Situation

Grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to Support Refugee Health Services in Uganda

PORTLAND, Ore. – (November 29, 2016) Many are calling it the world’s fastest growing refugee settlement – and Bidi Bidi is exploding on a daily basis with thousands of women and children in dire need of basic health services. Now an $850,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help Medical Teams International, a Pacific Northwest-based non-profit, boost its urgent work in northern Uganda.

Medical Teams has been working with South Sudanese refugees in Uganda since 2013, when women and children began moving into the northern part of the country to flee renewed conflict between warring factions. On average, nearly 4000 refugees are arriving each day in Bidi Bidi, which is the largest settlement. As of November 2016, more than 200,000 people are living within a 250 square kilometer settlement—86% of whom are women and children. This whole population is served by only one local hospital and a handful of make-shift medical facilities.

“These families have been forced to leave everything behind and make their way through the bush before they arrive in Uganda,” said Martha Holley Newsome, Chief Executive Officer at Medical Teams International. “This grant from the Gates Foundation will provide much-needed funding for medical services and supplies, as well as local staff support. Health is an often overlooked factor in a refugee crisis—and it’s critical we address this, particularly for women and children, to ensure a livable existence for these displaced communities.”

Medical Teams has been providing basic healthcare needs for refugees in the region - with as many as 36,000 health consultations in one month alone. Staff are working 14 hour days, seven days a week in facilities with no electricity or running water. Their work has continued to grow in an attempt to provide life-saving medical care.

The United Nations predicts that South Sudanese refugees in West Nile may reach one million people by next summer.

Photos from refugee camps in Uganda can be found in this Dropbox (photo credit: Medical Teams International):

Medical Teams International is accepting donations to help with this growing crisis. Donations to help refugees fleeing South Sudan can be made at

NOTE: If you would like to interview someone at Medical Team International about the response to the refugee crisis, please contact Melissa Milburn at (206) 972-9096 or

About Medical Teams International:

Medical Teams International (MTI) is a global relief and development organization serving people affected by disaster, conflict and poverty around the world — regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. We mobilize expert volunteer medical, dental and support professionals, procure and ship donated medicines and supplies worldwide and create health programs with lasting impact. In addition to responding to the most urgent needs around the world, we use innovative technologies and training in the communities we serve. We set up long-term development programs to achieve the most sustainable impact so local communities are more self-reliant and prepared for future emergencies.Founded in 1979, MTI is a charitable 501(c)(3) organization that employs more than 500 people and annually engages 2,500 volunteers globally.