The recent explosion of violence in eastern DR Congo has triggered a new wave of Covid-19 infections from refugees crossing into Uganda, presenting a potential health crisis.
More than 62,000 Congolese refugees have entered Uganda since January and the numbers have increased in the past few weeks following renewed fighting between government forces and M23 rebels.
According to the Uganda Red Cross, the majority of the refugees are not vaccinated against Covid-19.
The UN refugee agency protocol is that refugees are scanned for several diseases, including Covid-19, at receiving centres near the border. But it has not been easy to control movements of those coming from the DRC, with many of them refusing to go to reception centres for screening, opting to remain along the border as they wait for fighting to subside.
“In fear of being processed as refugees, many set up temporary shelters at the border where they mix with the local communities,” Uganda Red Cross spokesperson Irene Nakasiita .
By Thursday, official data showed that Uganda had administered 21.7 million vaccine doses, of which 16 million were single doses and 10 million double doses.
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