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Perfect timing in Uganda

Clean water, good hygiene and sanitation are keys to stopping the spread of cholera. Photo: Julien Harneis (

August 26, 2016

By Simon Chambers

When PWRDF announced on August 12 that it was sending $30,000 to support relief efforts for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, we had no idea how timely our grant would be.  On August 16, PWRDF and Canadian Lutheran World Relief (the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s equivalent agency to PWRDF) received an email from Jesse Kamstra, the Lutheran World Federation’s country representative for Uganda and Burundi, thanking us for the relief funds we had sent.

“ You can’t even begin to image how timely this PWRDF CAD 30,000 and CLWR CAD 20,000 contribution is,”  Jesse wrote.  “Yesterday we got confirmation that we have a Cholera outbreak in our settlement. “

One boy had arrived in the camp infected with cholera, and despite the camp staff’s quickly isolating the boy and his older sister, within two days there were six more suspected cases,  which  quickly  grew to 32.  Médecins sans Frontières has supported the refugee camp with cholera kits as well as medical staff to handle the isolation and treatment of patients.

The Pagrinya holding centre currently houses 29,000 refugees in its relatively small area, so the concern about the potential spread of the disease is high.

But Jesse is much more hopeful now.  “With these first pledges it gives us confidence to ramp up our water, hygiene and sanitation efforts to avoid further spread and loss of life.”

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