Funding Will Help Improve Humanitarian Health Response for Refugees in Kigoma Region

(PORTLAND, OR) September 19, 2023 – Medical Teams International expresses our appreciation to the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) for its generous contribution of USD $3.35 million for the delivery of health services to the refugees and host population in Kigoma region, Tanzania. This financial support began on August 1, 2023.

PRM began funding Medical Teams International in Tanzania in 2019. This year begins the country’s sixth funding cycle for humanitarian refugee response. In the preceding fiscal year, 2022/2023, PRM supported 2,012 refugee patients who needed medical referrals, 29,902 clients who received reproductive health and child health services, 250 chronically ill patients received complementary feeding support, and 214,422 people who benefited from access to medicines and medical equipment.

“Since the program’s inception, no pregnant woman has died during childbirth for a fourth consecutive year despite 2,412 live births,” said Lucas Machibya, Acting Country Director of Medical Teams Tanzania.

Medical Teams International acknowledges the PRM support for our refugee program. From January to August 2023, Tanzania has received approximately 12,848 new arrival refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Currently, the number of new refugees from Congo arriving in Tanzania is about 15 per day. Medical Teams has consistently provided primary health care to new refugees needing medical care in the Kigoma transit center (from the beginning of the influx up to now). Throughout this challenging time, PRM’s generosity has prevailed. PRM has committed to funding health interventions and improving access to primary healthcare, safe motherhood, medicines, medical supplies, and medical referrals to tertiary hospitals. This financial support will last until 2025.

The larger part of the funding will support the health system in the refugee camps, augmenting other donors’ funding (including UNHCR and the Government of Tanzania) and improving medical referrals, safe motherhood, and access to primary health care.

Medical Teams will continue operating in the Kigoma region (in the districts of Kasulu and Kibondo) of Tanzania. The refugee camps of Nduta and Nyarugusu in Tanzania are located far from the District Headquarters, Kibondo and Kasulu, necessitating high-quality health facilities and services in the refugee camps. UNHCR statistics show that the majority of refugees are women and children. The continued provision of high-quality health care services is essential to preventing death for children under 5 years old and the general population.

Michael Chapman, Medical Teams Senior Director of Global Programs said, “In the second and third quarters of 2023, the refugee operation experienced an unprecedented measles outbreak. This financial support will help to increase the vaccination program’s coverage. The goal is to ensure 95% vaccination coverage for measles among children under 5 years. An effective immunization program aids in preventing and controlling infections in children.”

“Medical Teams received approval from the Government of Tanzania to work in the refugee camps and signed a project partnership agreement with UNHCR in May 2020 to improve life-saving interventions in Nduta and Nyarugusu refugee camps. The signed agreement aims to reduce morbidity and keep mortality within WHO-acceptable thresholds. The Medical Teams workforce, including 165 national staff and 254 refugee incentive workers, and its programming, especially in Nyarugusu camp, are expected to change due to reduced funding from UNHCR in Tanzania’s refugee program starting in the last quarter of 2023,” said Maeva Ekoua, Medical Teams Program Manager for Tanzania.

Medical Teams is implementing our Channels of Hope program for the sixth consecutive year to reduce maternal and child health complications. This inter-faith program prepares religious leaders to change community health behavior in their congregations through behavioral communication, focusing on early health-seeking behaviors and pregnant women seeking assistance in health facilities. The program also aims to reduce malaria impact and has contributed to zero maternal deaths.

“Medical Teams, as a humanitarian response organization, is proud to be a PRM partner because this funding will contribute immensely to supporting UNHCR and the Government of Tanzania’s efforts to provide quality health services to refugees,” said Roger Sandberg, Medical Teams President for Field Operations. “The program will assist more than 212,000 refugees in Tanzania in the Kigoma region.”

About Medical Teams International

Founded in 1979, Medical Teams International provides life-saving medical care for people in crisis, such as survivors of natural disasters and refugees. We care for the whole person— physical, emotional, social and spiritual. Daring to love like Jesus, we serve all people—regardless of religion, nationality, sex or race. Learn more at and on social media using @medicalteams.

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