Kampala, 26th January 2019: - The Government of Uganda launched the Health Sector Refugee Response Plan 2019-2024, (HSIRRP 2019-2024). This is a five-year plan that advocates for the provision of integrated services for both refugees and refugee-host communities in all the refugee-hosting districts.
The HSRIIP is intended to address the needs of refugees and the host communities and ensure access to quality health services for both through improvement of staffing of refugee-hosting districts to 95% of the public staffing norms.
In addition, 50% of the public health centres at level II will be improved to health centres level III. Likewise, adequate medicine and health supplies will be distributed to the respective districts using the national distribution channels.
The capacity of facility-based health workers and community health extension workers will also be built to adequately meet the needs of the communities.
Uganda hosts over 1.19 million refugees and ranks third globally among the countries with the highest number of refugees.
The HSIRRP was launched by the Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda who revealed that Uganda’s borders are open for all those fleeing their homes or countries for various reasons. He said, “Uganda led the way for innovative approaches with the development and launch of the education response plan for refugees and host communities, and the health sector has also done the same.”
Dr Ruganda commended the Ministry of Health on the milestone and specially appreciated partners including Donors and United Nations Agencies for finalizing the HSIRRP.
The Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng said that HSIRRP will ensure that refugees in Uganda have equal access to social services including health and education. She said, “The HSIRRP is modelled along the national health priorities, principles of strengthening health systems, integrated service provision and aid effectiveness.”
The United Nations (UN) Resident Coordinator in Uganda, Ms Rosa Malango said that the UN General Assembly recently committed to supporting refugee-hosting countries. She revealed that Uganda is among the countries and the launch of the HSIRRP is a great milestone in cementing the support.
“Uganda, we congratulate you again for meeting your target and your leadership in these trying times”, she said.
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Representative in Uganda, Mr Joël Boutroue commended Uganda on launching the HSRIIP, noting that integrated support to refugees and host communities not only improves their lives but creates an opportunity to build structures in the host districts.
The World Health Organization Representative in Uganda Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam similarly commended the government of Uganda on the launch adding that it is a milestone to the process of achieving Universal Health Coverage.
He further noted that Uganda’s refugee policy is economically and socially advantageous for both refugees and the host communities and is a model that other countries can learn from. “The launch of the Health Sector Integrated Refugee Response just marks a step in the long path towards achieving the health goal of Sustainable Development Goals for Uganda; particularly for the Refugees and host communities”, he said.
Dr Yonas committed the support of WHO in implementing the HSRIIP to ensure that the host communities and refugees alike receive quality health care services.
The HSIRRP will be managed by the Ministry of Health. The Ministry will institutionalize the coordination of refugee health services at national and subnational levels, coordinating key humanitarian and development stakeholders.
The implementation of the plan will be led by the host districts involving the Ministry of Health, UN Agencies, multilateral and bilateral agencies, and refugee communities.
The interventions under the HSIRRP for refugee host communities are premised on international, regional and national commitments, notably the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and its comprehensive Refugee Response Framework.