Thousands of Burundian refugee children at Mahama Refugee Camp in Kirihe District will tomorrow receive vaccination doses against major killer diseases.
The vaccination is being given courtesy of a partnership between government and UNICEF, with officials saying the exercise is not informed by any epidemic outbreak in the camp but as a preventive measure.
According to statistics from the Ministry of Disaster Management and Refugee Affairs (MIDIMAR), the camp currently is home to more than 13,000 children.
The vaccination exercise will take place a day after a visit by ministers in charge of East African Community Affairs from Rwanda and Uganda to the camp to assess the humanitarian situation there.
Today’s scheduled visit by the ministers follows a decision by an emergency meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, that discussed the solution to the situation in Burundi.
The meeting, chaired by the Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe, from Tanzania, decided that EAC affairs ministers would visit camps hosting refugees from Burundi both in Rwanda and Tanzania to assess the humanitarian situation.
Speaking to The New Times ahead of the visit to the camp, the Minister of EAC Affairs, Valentine Rugwabiza, said they would report to the heads of state.
The report would inform the way forward regarding the refugee crisis.
So far, over 100,000 Burundians have sought refuge in the three neighbouring countries of Rwanda, Tanzania and DR Congo, and the number is expected to rise due to the continued crisis back home.
The ministers’ visit takes place as cholera outbreak was confirmed in a camp hosting Burundian refugees in Kigoma region in Tanzania.
Reports from Tanzania say 30 refugees had succumbed to the epidemic.
MIDMAR maintains that no such outbreak has been reported in Rwanda, where over 26,000 refugees are hosted.
Frederic Ntawukuriryayo, the communication officer at the ministry, said only minor cases of treatable ailments such as malaria had been reported.