KARONGI – A maternity ward has been commissioned at Kiziba refugee camp in Karongi District, and is expected to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates among Congolese refugees.
The ward, which was built by the Africa Humanitarian Action (AHA), to replace a substandard facility that was inadequate to support the rapidly increasing population at the camp, was yesterday commissioned by local leaders and United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) officials.
The facility is an addition to other health interventions being provided to refugees, including voluntary HIV testing and counselling.
According to Dr. Mulugeta Tena, the medical coordinator at the camp, the new facility will help to reduce the infant mortality rates which is currently a pressing issue at the 13-year-old camp.
The health facility receives over 50 delivery cases every month.
“The new facility will provide a chance for a better delivery system and this will encourage mothers to use it more often,” Mulugeta said.
He revealed that over 300 people seek antenatal care services per month from the health facility, and a similar number seeks family planning services.
Speaking to The New Times shortly after the inauguration, Mary Cisse, the UNHCR associate field officer at the camp, thanked AHA for the initiative and expressed optimism that life for refugees was getting better with time.
The camp which is home to over 18,000 displaced Congolese refugees, including over 10,000 women receives on average 45 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births annually according to statistics by the centre’s health authorities.