Refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who fled into Kisoro district to escape fighting in their country are being vaccinated against infectious killer diseases by the Ugandan health authorities.
Assay Ndizihiwe, the Kisoro District Director of Health Services, says more than 1,500 refugees have been vaccinated against measles, tuberculosis, polio, cholera and tetanus. He says the precaution was made to ensure the health of the refugees who are vulnerable to disease by virtue of the closed quarters in which they are living.
Ndizihiwe says the Congolese were also vaccinated to ensure that they do not carry polio into Uganda. He says Uganda is almost polio-free and is taking extra measures to ensure that this situation does not change.
//Cue in: We have vaccinated them #i
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30 Congolese refugees are hospitalized, suffering from various ailments. Most of the patients are malnourished children suffering from diarrhea.
Philemon Mateke, the Kisoro LC5 chairperson, says many families that are hosting the refugees are being closely monitored to ensure that they remain in good health. He says the district authorities are conducting a sensitization campaign to encourage both the refugees and the local communities to go for the free vaccination provided by health centers near them.
Last week an estimated 35,000 Congolese refugees fled into Uganda escape fighting between government forces, renegade troops and rebels in North Kivu province in the east of the DRC. The refugees spent Tuesday and Wednesday nights in the town of Bunagana in Kisoro district. Most of the refugees have returned home, leaving behind about 15,000 women and children.