Uganda + 5 more

UNICEF Uganda Humanitarian Situation Report No.1 - January 2020



  • The Government of Uganda is leading preparedness efforts for a possible Desert Locust invasion that affected neighbouring Kenya.

  • More than 33,000 people were reached with messages on Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) through interpersonal communication.

  • UNICEF supported a national training of trainers for 102 people on the revised Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) guidelines and training packages for children.

  • A total of 42 child-friendly spaces (CFS) continue to be operational, providing integrated platforms to children to benefit from psychosocial support activities linked to other sectors, such as early childhood development, health, and education services.

  • The Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) is only 26 per cent funded, hindering UNICEF’s response to the urgent needs of children and women affected by emergencies in 2020.

Funding Overview and Partnerships

The UNICEF 2020 HAC appeal for Uganda is seeking US$50.12 million to sustain the provision of life-saving services for vulnerable women and children in Uganda. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UNOCHA), the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the Government of Japan, the United Kingdom Committee for UNICEF, and the United States Fund for UNICEF for their contributions in 2019. These funds, which totaled US$12,642,147, enabled UNICEF and its partners to continue implementing humanitarian interventions. In 2020, UNOCHA has generously contributed US$593,225 to UNICEF Uganda’s humanitarian response. However, the 2020 HAC still has a funding gap of US$36,884,607 (74 per cent). Without sufficient funding, an estimated 20,000 children will not be treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM), more than 190,000 people will not have access to sufficient quantities of water of appropriate quality, and more than 41,000 children will not receive the psychosocial support they need. UNICEF seeks additional funding to complement the government’s efforts to protect the rights of children affected by the emergencies.

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), 31,663 refugees arrived from South Sudan and 57,242 arrived from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 2019. As of 31 January 2020, Uganda hosted a total of 1,394,678 refugees, over 95 per cent of whom are entitled to humanitarian food assistance. However, a rapid increase in arrivals from DRC occurred in January 2020, with more than 1,400 recorded by UNHCR and OPM. According to UNHCR and OPM, the influx from DRC is due to a conflict between two ethnic groups in Katanga territory, about 22 kilometres from the Ugandan border with DRC. This is an on and off conflict that has been on-going for many years and results in periodic displacement. The needs assessment done by OPM, UNHCR, and the World Food Programme (WFP) shows that over 57 per cent of those displaced are children, some of whom are unaccompanied and separated.

In Uganda, the government is leading preparedness efforts for a possible desert locust invasion that affected neighbouring Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia. Situation monitoring is being done through the Commissioner of Crop Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, with the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and other agencies. According to FAO, the desert locust is the most destructive migratory pest in the world as large swarms pose a major threat to food security and rural livelihoods. There is no confirmed locust invasion in Uganda yet, though the potential migration of locusts into the Karamoja region and neighbouring bimodal areas poses a threat to farming activities from March to June and to overall production in affected areas. Rainfall has disrupted drying and post-harvest activities, leading to delays in transporting food to markets and significant losses for cereals, legumes, and cassava/sweet potato s. As a result, household food stocks are expected to be below average. Consequently, poor households in flood- and landslide-affected areas are facing constrained access to food and stressed (IPC Phase 2) or worse outcomes, though minimal (IPC Phase 1) outcomes are expected in most areas. In Karamoja, staple food prices and above-average household food stocks are supporting stressed (IPC Phase 2) outcomes.

On 29 January, an emergency National Task Force (NTF) meeting was convened to brief partners on the 2019 novel coronavirus (now named COVID-19). A suspected case of coronavirus was reported in Masindi: a Chinese road construction worker who travelled to China and returned to Uganda displayed symptoms similar to those of the coronavirus on 28 January. The patient had isolated himself in the road construction camp, which is next to Masindi Hospital. Uganda does not have the required laboratory capabilities to test for coronavirus. A sample was therefore collected on 31 January 2020 and shipped to South Africa. Results show that the sample was negative. The Uganda virology laboratory requested for and received primers from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for confirmatory testing of COVID-19. A country readiness checklist has been completed, having identified gaps in various areas including capacity-building for health workers and accelerated public awareness. A national contingency plan is being developed. There are five more people under self-isolation who were physically observed and evaluated by the surveillance teams in road construction camps in Buliisa. Surveillance teams will continue to monitor the communities for any signs.

As of 31 January, there was no reported Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) case or EVD contacts under follow-up in Uganda. Nevertheless, the country remains at high risk of EVD importation from DRC. Because of the heightened risk of EVD importation, the Ministry of Health (MoH) and partners are developing a six-month plan to sustain efforts from January to June 2020.

During the last week of January, 224 suspected measles cases have been reported from six districts through the weekly epidemiological report. A total of 52 suspected cases were laboratory investigated, of which 24 cases were positive for measles, five cases positive for rubella, and two cases positive for both measles and rubella. So far, two districts (both refugee hosting: Lamwo and Isingiro) have had confirmed measles outbreaks in 2020. No districts have been confirmed for a rubella outbreak in 2020.

As of 31 January 2020, Uganda had six yellow fever confirmed cases in Buliisa and Moyo districts in western Uganda and West Nile, respectively. Five cases were fatalities, rendering the case fatality rate 83 per cent. This outbreak started on 04 November 2019.

As of 31st January 2020, there was an increase in the number of malaria cases from 103,325 in Epi week 1 to 187,727 week 3 at the reporting rate of seventy one percent. Analysis of surveillance data for January showed over 40 districts transmitting cases above the normal channel. The key drivers of the upsurge could be attributed to climatic changes from sunny seasons following the raining seasons which could have promoted the mosquito breeding due to the preceding prolonged intermittent rains, population movement from low- to high-burden areas and vice versa, human activity that creates artificial vector breeding sites and low utilization of old mosquito nets in the communities.

As of 31 January, the confirmed case of Crimean Congo Haemorraghic Fever (CCHF) in Kagadi sero converted to negative and was discharged whereas one confirmed and five suspected cases were reported in Busia.