Sixty Tanzania Medical Staff Needed to Rescue Situation in Kigoma Refugee Camp

Medical staff attending to refugees.

Dar es Salaam — The International medical organization, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) needs at least 60 Tanzanian medical staff who would the ready to work with the charity organization to overcome the recent spike of diseases among Burundian refugees residing in Nduta camp in Kigoma Region.

Nduta camp – which was originally intended to shelter only 55,000 people – is overwhelmed and overcrowded, leading to a worrying health situation,The Citizen was yesterday informed by experts from MSF.

At the beginning of this month, 124,177 Burundian refugees were reported to be living in Nduta camp. MSF says the numbers have been going down of late; however, there was a massive influx of refugees in the first few months of 2017.

This comes a few weeks after The Citizen reported that there was a spike in the number of malaria cases in Nduta and Nyarugusu refugee camps in Kigoma region in the past three months.

Earlier reports suggested that 55,400 of the people in the camps–mostly children under the age of five have been diagnosed with malaria, as experts warned that the situation could get worse due to heavy rains which had hit the region.

The worrying trend of unsanitary conditions, including the temporary housing of new arrivals of refuges in communal shelters, has been contributing to a spike in disease, says MSF’s Field Communications Manager, Ms Eleanor Ballard.

“Diarrhoea and respiratory tract infections are common and malaria is currently the biggest health challenge in the camp,” she told The Citizen as she explained why MSF was now seeking more Tanzanian doctors who would step in to boost the health situation.

 “The new staff will be part of existing Tanzanian teams, supported by international staff, doing their part to meet the healthcare needs of refugees in Nduta camp,” said an MSF report sent to The Citizen yesterday.

 MSF says it has noted an increase in all inpatient and outpatient services in line with the growing camp population.

“Over the past few months, our teams have been scaling up our assistance – our sixth health post opened in April to help cater to medical needs amongst newly-arrived refugees,” says Ms Ballard.

To improve the health situation in the camp, MSF is now seeking the qualified medical personnel, including clinical officers, doctors, midwives, midwife assistants, nurses, nurse aids, nutrition nurses, and nutrition assistants.

“These staff will use their medical and nutrition expertise to work with and gain experience and additional training within a globally-recognised international humanitarian organisation, while working on one of the key refugee crises in the region,” says MSF.

MSF runs a 175-bed hospital in Nduta camp and currently, about 153 medical and non-medical staff are working in the camp and 28 in Dar es Salaam.

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