Omugo Refugee Settlement Gets Modern Health Centre
Refugees and members of the host/Ugandan community in Omugo sub-county, Arua District have every reason to smile. This after they received a new ultra-modern health facility, Ocia Health Centre III, in Omugo Refugee Settlement. The health centre was commissioned on 22nd March by Francesca Stidston, Deputy Head of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) in Uganda.
Save the Children initially operated a mobile clinic in Omugo I and II settlements before the health facility was constructed. All this changed in July 2017 when the organization started the “Multi-sectoral Emergency Assistance to South Sudanese Refugees” in Arua with funding from DFID. Save the Children’s intervention aimed to increase access to quality primary health care services and to promote, protect and support optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E) for South Sudanese refugees and host/Ugandan communities in Omugo and Imvepi settlements, which are home to refugees from South Sudan.
Save the Children built a permanent level III health facility in Omugo 4 refugee settlement, based on the fact that pregnant women in the settlements had to walk long distances to health facilities, something that made most of them choose to give birth at home even if the safety and hygiene conditions were not safe for childbirth. The health facility offers Basic Emergency and Obstetric Care, laboratory services and in-patient care for complicated cases. Maternity services opened in February 2018, with mothers coming in for antenatal care. To ensure effective case referral for complicated cases, Save the Children also procured an ambulance.
A full team of technical staff have been recruited to provide quality Primary Health Care services which include curative consultations, reproductive health services (antenatal and postnatal care, family planning, active case finding and treatment of sexually transmitted infections), immunization (EPI) and the IYCF-E package (counselling on breastfeeding, complementary feeding, malnutrition screening and growth monitoring, emotional support and IYCF promotion sessions).
Save the Children has extended preventive and curative primary health care services through the running of mobile clinics in Imvepi, outreaches and the establishment of four mother-baby areas (MBAs) in Omugo and Imvepi, where comprehensive Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E) practices are promoted. This is in line with the Ministry of Health’s mission to provide the highest possible level of health services through the delivery of promotive, preventive and curative health care services at all levels, most importantly the lowest levels.
Up to March 15, 29,397 outpatient consultations had been conducted, with the major complaints being Respiratory Tract Infections (73.4%) and malaria (30.4%). Of the RTI consultations, 42% were children under-five while malaria consultations had an almost equal proportion of complaints from children under five – 42%. A total of 4,340 mothers and babies have benefited directly from the nutrition interventions. Overall, the health programme has indirectly reached approximately 40,000 people.
With the continued influx of new refugees from South Sudan and the resultant demand for health services, Save the Children is committed to continuing the provision of quality health and nutrition services to both refugees and host/Ugandan populations.
By Sylvia Nabanoba
Communications Coordinator, Save the Children