On 19 October, 2017, the Uganda Ministry of Health officially declared Marburg Viral Disease (MVD) outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International concern. By 31 October, three cases and three deaths were reported in Kween and Kapchorwa districts. The current outbreak remains localized. UNICEF supports the social mobilisation, WASH and logistics components of the MVD response.
At the start of October, a total of 1,132,590 children and women were registered as refugee and asylum seekers in Uganda. The planning figures in the Uganda Integrated Refugee Response Plan (I-RRP 2018) raised to 1.8 million refugees by end of 2018, including expected new arrivals of 375,000 refugees expected in 2018. The I-RRP will cover all refugees hosted in Uganda from South Sudan, Burundi, DRC and others.
UNICEF and partner Uganda Red Cross Society continue to support prevention activities in the two cholera-affected districts, Kasese and Nebbi through door to door social mobilization, surveillance and sensitization on hygiene and sanitation. 8,801 households (35,834 people) and 4,812 households (28,874 people) were reached so far in Kasese and Nebbi districts respectively.
UNICEF has a 70 percent funding gap, therefore unable to meet the critical needs of the children affected by emergencies.
Situation in Numbers
# of children in need of humanitarian assistance (UNICEF HAC 2017)
Total # of people in need (UNICEF HAC 2017)
#of refugee children (OPM, RIMS)
total # of refugees (OPM, RIMS)
UNICEF Appeal 2017 US$ 52.87 million
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Refugees: Uganda hosts over 1,38 million refugees and asylum seekers as of October, 2017, of whom over 1 million refugees are from South Sudan, 236,000 from DRC and 39,000 from Burundi. The number of new arrivals from South Sudan decreased in October, possibly because of heavy rains in South Sudan making difficult to cross overflowing rivers. The main reason reported for flight of Congolese refugees is the Mai-Mai militias threatening Kinyabwisha tribal group in DRC, accused of Rwandese origins – in October, average daily arrival rate of DRC refugees was 65. In Nakivale, a total of 241 (97 Female, 144 Male) Burundian arrivals were received at the Kabazana Reception Centre. UNICEF has been among key players in finalizing the Uganda Integrated Refugee Response Plan (I-RRP) for 2018, under the leadership of OPM and UNHCR. For the first time, the I-RRP will cover all refugees hosted in Uganda including refugees from South Sudan, Burundi, DRC and others.
In 2017, Uganda was chosen as one of the first allocations for Education Cannot Wait (ECW) to scale up strategic, financial and political support and commitment to the education sector. The efforts of the ECW initiative in Uganda will likely contribute to the prioritization of learning in the refugee response, to prevent having generations of refugees doomed to become marginalized and excluded from economic opportunities. Preparations have begun for a Uganda Refugee and Host Community Education Response Plan. A Task Team Co-Chaired by Ministry of Education and UNHCR with technical input from UNICEF is leading the multi-year strategy development process. A final draft of the strategy is expected to be ready for approval in December 2017 and is envisaged to facilitate critically needed support to address gaps in learning within the refugees and host communities.
Food security in Karamoja region: Food security has significantly improved since July in most parts of Uganda as the second major rainfall season commenced including Karamoja region. The situation is anticipated to continue improving since harvests are underway and as the rainfall forecast currently indicates “favourable” conditions in the region. The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) forecast for October to November is positive, indicating an increased likelihood of above average rainfall in most parts of Uganda with near normal (average) rainfall in South Western Uganda and near normal to below normal rainfall conditions over Karamoja region. Cumulatively, severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) trends of admissions in the seven districts of Karamoja region from December 2016 to July 2017 indicate a total 8,633 new cases of severe acute malnutrition were admitted into a total of 114 inpatient treatment centres (ITC)/outpatient treatment centres (OTC) and 86,058 cases were admitted into the supplementary feeding program (164 SFP sites). The graph shows the monthly trend of admissions into OTC/ITC as well as supplementary feeding.
Disease Outbreaks and Epidemics: Cholera outbreaks were confirmed in two districts of Kasese and Nebbi on 27 September and 4 October respectively. Total cases reported are 178 (164 Kasese and 14 Nebbi). 30 percent of the reported cases are children under 5 years. The cases are decreasing as of 24 October, 2017. Key community interventions like social mobilization (interpersonal communication) and community case search, distribution of water purification tablets and enforcement of bye-laws have contributed to the reduction of the daily case load.
Marburg Virus Disease (MVD): On October 17, 2017, the Public Health Emergency Operations Center of the Ministry of Health of Uganda was notified by the Uganda Virus Research Institute of a confirmed case of Viral Hemorrhagic Fever. Since October 17, 2017, the National Task Force (NTF) has been activated and meets daily. WHO and UNICEF supported NTF to develop a National Response Plan and Budget based on rapid containment scenario. As of October 31, 2017, the outbreak remains localized and the Public Health Emergency Operations Center of the Ministry of Health (MoH) reported three cumulative cases of MVD, including two laboratory-confirmed cases and three deaths. Response is focusing on three high risk and three moderate risk2 districts in Eastern Uganda. UNICEF support focuses on communication and social mobilisation, WASH and logistics. The outbreak response has been hampered by community resistance to share information on contacts and unwillingness of symptomatic contacts to be isolated. This was prompted by rapidly spreading rumours and misinformation about the disease in the affected communities and a low trust in Government health workers. In response to the risks, the Uganda National Task Force on Outbreaks called for prioritization of a strong communication and social mobilization activities in the affected districts, as well as contact tracing and follow-up. Proximity of the outbreak to the Kenyan border coupled with potential increase in population movements due to post-election violence continue to pose risks for cross-border transmission. WHO and IOM have been supporting the Governments of Uganda and Kenya with the sharing of information and cross-border dialogue.
Uganda continues to experience sporadic outbreaks of measles across the country as of 30 October 2017, six districts have reported cases. UNICEF is providing technical and financial support to strengthen routine immunization using the Reaching Every District /Reaching Every Community/child approach through social mobilization and increasing outreaches to reach areas with inequities. The country has applied to Measles Rubella Initiative (MRI) to introduce measles rubella containing vaccine into routine.