- World Food Program (WFP) need an estimated $167 million to provide aid through to the end of last year, but donors contributed only $30 million as of September 2017
- WFP needs $58m to help scale up, sustain and expand life-saving assistance and protection for the next six months of more than 1.3 million refugees
- World Vision on a monthly basis supply about 9,000 metric tons of food distributed to close to 480, 000 refugees, and another 50,000 refugees receiving cash money for direct food
By metedio Iceta
Moyo-Despite of the challenges facing the South Sudanese refugees living with HIV/AIDS as a result of reduced food ration some of the patients are confident of taking their ARVs constantly.
Rosemary Modong, a refugee at Pashu zone in Palorinya refugee settlement said before she lost her husband and last born in 2010 and she was discovered with the virus after the war forced her to Uganda.
“With a burden of confronting reduced food ration for the refugees I can say prayers gave me the courage because I didn’t know what to do and my family is drying for the last two months until rain that is why we gained hope in the settlements because I am able to plant some crops to alleviate the food rationing,” Ms Modong said.
She said Refugees at Palorinya are only given six kilograms of flour, six kilogram of beans and just a few grams of vegetable oil and salt per person, per month. “This is half of the original amount given when the settlement first opened. The only meat, fruit or vegetables available are those that people cultivate themselves. Although food distribution is a top priority, we have limited rations per person the portions have continued to dwindle,” she added.
The statistics from health department indicate that 457 registered HIV patients are receiving treatment at Palorinya Health Centre III as of December 2017.
Doreen Akidi, the Head of the Antiretroviral Treatment (ART) Clinic at Palorinya Health Centre III said the patients receive weekly doses of antiretroviral medications (ARVs), which prevent further growth of the virus in the immune system.
“We have 270 people living with HIV in Budri Zonal at Palorinya, and 21 of those are children below 18. When the HIV patients have constant food, it helps them a lot because it is difficult to take ARV when hungry,” Doreen said.
She added: “Children require greater nutrition as they grow, so the portions we have to give to them are just aren’t enough. On top of that that the side-effects of ARVs increase without proper nutrition, and it sometimes makes taking medication problematic.”
Some of the South Sudanese refugees receiving food at Imvepi settlement in Arua district. Photo by Felix
Preliminary findings from the October 2017 Food security and Nutrition Assessment (FSNA) indicate high level of Malnutrition among children refugee communities with hose in the West Nile region worse off. Five out of seven settlement had global acute malnutrition (GAM) levels above the WHO recommended threshold of 10 per cent Arua 10.3 per cent, Adjumani 11.8 per cent, Palorinya 11.1 per cent Palabek 12.3 per cent and Bidibidi in Yumbe district at 11.3 per cent.
Andie Lambe, the executive director at International Refugee Rights Initiative, said: “Our understanding is that the ration cuts were as a result of a break in the food pipeline within WFP and that these cuts are both temporary and that the gap was substituted with a cash equivalent of the missing ration.
“The refugees are dependent on handouts due to the lack of alternatives for them to support themselves. The pure scale of the disaster, in which more than 86% of refugees are women and children, means that strains have been put on already scarce resources.,” she said.
According to El Khidir Daloum, the WFP director for Uganda in May 2017, WFP was forced to cut food rations to refugees in the East African nation by 50 per cent due to severe funding shortages.
“Every month we need $20 million to feed the refugees in Uganda for every next six months we have a shortage of $62m to $85m for refugees and We know what it takes to secure those resources, but at the same time, this is a life-saving issue,” said Daloum.
In 2017, Uganda held a solidarity summit refugees and hot communities hosted by president Yoweri Museveni and the UN Secretary General António Guterres at which the international community initially pledged $347.45 million which is part of the $2 billon in aid sought by Uganda for 2017 to 1.2 million refugees.