Violence in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has forced thousands of people to flee across the border into neighboring countries, but relief workers in Uganda admit that HIV is low on the list of priorities.
Innocent Asiimwe, a repatriation officer at the United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, says NGOs are prioritizing water, sanitation, basic health; they are doing a broad intervention. He however says they might do immunizations next week, but until that's sorted, they won't have time for HIV.
Asiimwe says that the relief workers need a health partner to target HIV on the ground.
Asiimwe says So far, no refugees have asked for antiretroviral (ARV) drugs or Septrin - an antibiotic commonly prescribed to avoid opportunistic infections associated with HIV - and it was unlikely they would do so unless there was an organization specifically sensitizing the community to HIV.
According to UNHCR, the violence in eastern DRC has displaced an estimated 250,000 people. About 12,000 have crossed into Uganda, with around 7,000 passing through the transit site at Ishasha, near the border of DRC's North Kivu Province. Although some returned to DRC after only a few days, others have gone to a permanent refugee settlement area in western Uganda called Nakivale.
There are approximately 4,000 refugees in Ishasha, but the transit site is not equipped to provide such a large influx of people with water, sanitation, food, condoms, and health care.
There are only three latrines for this large population, and no garbage disposal pit or system, but M