An official shares information about Covid-19

Covid-19 vaccine: Ray of hope for refugees in northern Uganda

On the streets of Bidi Bidi refugee camp in Uganda, the wheels of a boda boda (a motorcycle taxi) stir up red dust as the driver manoeuvres slowly through the settlement, music blaring from a loudspeaker strapped to the back of his bike.

The driver is a mobile messenger with the speaker broadcasting information about the Covid-19 vaccine, intended to persuade the camp’s residents to get the jab.

Home to around a quarter of a million refugees from South Sudan, Bidi Bidi settlement in northern Uganda is one of the world’s largest refugee camps.

The camp’s residents fled here in 2016 to escape an explosion of violence in South Sudan’s civil war. In the years that followed, the white tents of the UN refugee agency UNHCR gave way to more permanent mud-brick houses, and refugees began to cultivate plots of land and run their own small businesses.

Then the pandemic struck. Schools and markets closed and the refugees were told to stay at home.

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