Uganda is currently host to over 1.4 million refugees and it is predicted this number could grow up to 1.8 million by the end of 2018, according to UNHCR. Approximately 74 per cent of all refugees are from South Sudan. However, as of December 2017 there has been a sharp increase in new arrivals from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The Global Acute Malnutrition rates (GAM) among new arrivals in refugee settlements are critically high at 14.9 to 21.5 per cent. Uganda’s integrated refugee response incorporating host communities has been named as the model for the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), adopted in September 2016 Summit for Refugees and Migrants in New York. This marks Uganda as a frontline state for this new approach.
Most areas of Uganda received average rainfall during the September to December 2017 second rainy season, though rainfall deficits were recorded in some western and central regions. The highly destructive and invasive fall armyworm (FAW) presented a new threat to Uganda and neighbouring countries in 2017. According to Uganda’s Agricultural Ministry, the worm wiped out 450,000 tonnes of maize worth US$ 192.8 million, which amounts to 12 per cent of all crops (March-July 2017).
Despite the fall armyworm, the total 2017 national crop production was estimated to be average. Staple food prices continued to decline and are near the five-year average in most markets. In Karamoja (north – eastern Uganda), sorghum production was average while maize production was below average. Food security has seasonally improved, although most poor households are expected to remain Stressed (IPC Phase 2) through at least May 2018. The lean season is expected to begin in March and households in Rupa, Nadunget and Tapac, who experienced more significant crop losses, are likely to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) during the March to June 2018 lean season.
Uganda is prone to various disease outbreaks. In 2017, a cholera outbreak has affected Kasese and Kisoro districts that borders DRC and a new outbreak was reported in Kisoro district on 5 January 2018 with two suspected and one confirmed case so far. Fluid population movements across the DRC – Uganda border present a heightened risk for cholera. From December 2017 to February 2018, Uganda has recorded two confirmed and two suspected cases of Crimean Congo Haemorrhagic fever. Both confirmed cases were discharged by the end of January. The Ministry of Health continues surveillance, social mobilization and case management in affected areas.
Malaria is endemic in many parts of Uganda. On 18 January 2018, Uganda was notified of an upsurge of malaria in the hypo-endemic Kisoro district affecting 4 of the 14 sub counties namely: Murora, Kanaba, Nyabwishwenya and Nyakabande, with over 60 malaria cases reported per week. This reported number could be much higher in the community. The test positivity rate increased from 20per cent to 50 per cent in affected facilities. In Kisoro district, the use of mosquito nets has been observed to be very low.
Risk of Rift Valley Fever is high in the cattle corridor covering 52 districts cutting across the centre of the country from South West in Ankole-Kigezi to North Eastern in Karamoja. The virus has been isolated frequently in domestic animals in all the areas where the outbreak is reported. By 18 January 2018, a total of five confirmed cases including four deaths (CFR: 80per cent) had been reported.