June 17, 2019
Opération Sourire: Celebrating 30 Years
But there is another refugee camp, one of the the largest in the world, that has been steadily growing in Uganda and has received far less attention in the media.
Bidi Bidi refugee camp is on Uganda’s northern border and was constructed in response to ongoing conflict and instability across the border in South Sudan. At its peak in 2017, Bidi Bidi was the largest and fastest growing refugee camp in the world – providing shelter for over 800,000 people. While the number of people living in the camp has decreased, there are still an estimated 270,000 residing in the camp, the large majority from South Sudan.
Doctors of the World has recently begun providing primary healthcare services at Bolomoni health center, an essential health facility within the refugee camp that treats over 5,500 people every month. Our teams provide access to sexual and reproductive health and psychological care to those in need of it.
We also are working on preventing the transmission of diseases and supporting victims of gender-based violence (GBV). Our teams aim to provide care to an estimated 42,650 people, including 10,250 children. A further 22,000 individuals will be indirectly impacted through community outreach and education activities.
Doctors of the World is working alongside Ugandan national health authorities that are actively working in Bidi Bidi camp. Our aim is to train local staff to ensure the sustainability of the project in the future and to ensure continuing access to care for those that that need it.
Life in Bidi Bidi remains uncertain and fragile, as the South Sudan conflict is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. On top of violent conflict, South Sudan will soon be facing the threat of drought and famine, making it even less likely that people will return to their homes across the border.
Photography © Caritas International & Bruno Abarca