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Baby ‘boom’ at Mwanza Kapise refugee camp

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As refugees escaping conflict from neighboring Mozambique continue f locking into Malawi, officials at the border district of Mwanza have said health facilities in the district have already started feeling the weight of the crisis.

And the Mwanza District Hospital is bearing the brunt as the facility had registered at least 26 new births from women brought to the facility from Kapise camp within the past few months.

Spokesperson at Mwanza District Health Office Dikilani Chadza confirmed the development in an interview.

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Chadza said the District Health Office together with its partners Medicines San’s Frontier (MSF) is running a clinic which is providing various health services at the camp including Voluntary HIV testing and counseling to the refugees.

“MSF is providing fuel and vehicles for the District Health Office to provide transport to ferry pregnant women from the camp to the [Mwanza] hospital and so far we have registered about 26 new births from up there (Kapise refugee camp),” said Chadza.

He also said the refugees, especially women and children, at Kapise face a number of other challenges ranging from inadequate health services, lack of clean water and other sanitation facilities.

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“With the help of organisations like Unicef, the health office here has since started running immunisation programmes for under five children, HTC services, constructed two pit latrines and we have also managed to sink two boreholes at the camp to help the people access clean water.

“We have also, with the help of Oxfam, started fumigating households here against bed bugs,” he said.

Chadza also said the health office plans to extend operations of the clinic which is running various services at the camp to about six days per week to reduce pressure at the district hospital.

Currently, the governments of Malawi and Mozambique are yet to agree as to how they will treat the Mozambican refugees.

While the Malawi government wants to relocate the camp to Luwani in the district, the Mozambican government wants the refugees return home.

As of last week the population at Kapise camp in the district was at about 6000 but authorities projected a rise in the number of people trekking to the camp to 8000 this week.

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