Health Status and Quality of Health Care Services of Congolese Refugees in Nakivale, Uganda

  •  Amegovu Andrew    


Physical and emotional wellness, as well as access to healthcare, are foundations for successful resettlement. Without feeling healthy, it is difficult to work, to go school, or take care of a family. Many factors can affect refugee health, including geographic origin and refugee camp conditions. Refugees may face a wide variety of acute or chronic health issues (Office of Refugee Resettlement, ORR Annual Report to Congress 2014; Resettlement of refugees in Uganda is usually supported by concerted efforts of UNHCR, Governments through the Office of the Prime Minister, OPM with support from host communities, local and international Non-Governmental Organizations. Due to resource constraints and local factors, immigrants are often subjected to poor living conditions which coupled with inadequacy inessential medical supplies might significantly affects quality of care and health service delivery and hence, rendering refugees to poor health status. This study was conducted from 2013-2014 to assess the determinants of health status of Congolese refugees living in Nakivale refugee settlement, in Isingiro district- South Western Uganda. A cross-sectional study design was used involving mixed techniques of both qualitative and quantitative KAP survey. The study focussed on Congolese refugee population in Nakivale Refugee settlement. 2401 key informants’ interviews and 8 focus group discussions respectively were conducted targeting service providers and beneficiaries/Congolese refugees in this case. The data was analysed using SPSS ver.20, 2011. Although majority (97%) of respondents sought medical services from established health facilities, findings confirm a high level of ill health prevalence among Congolese refugees in Nakivale camp, however, the difference in health services and perceived health status in camp versus the one in DRcongo is insignificant ( p=0.000) with respondents perceiving their health status as worse than when they were their own Country before the resettlement. Identified key challenges affecting access & uptake of available health services includes: language barrier; inadequate drugs; and the long distances to access health facilities. The health status of refugees could be improved by addressing the challenges related to language, drug supplies in addition to humanising conditions of shelter, providing appropriate waste disposal facilities while proving adequate food rations and clean & safe drinking water.

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