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MSF provides assistance to refugees from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) living in overcrowded camps in Tanzania, with poor sanitation and little access to healthcare.



outpatient consultations


patients treated in feeding centres


patients treated for cholera

The unhygienic conditions mean that people are at risk of diseases such as cholera. Malaria is rife, and many suffer from respiratory tract infections and diarrhoea.

In 2015, according to figures from the UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, there were almost 200,000 refugees in Tanzania, the majority from the DRC and Burundi. Many have been in the country since the 1990s, but the number from Burundi increased significantly as a result of political unrest in the country in May. Following reports of a cholera outbreak among the new arrivals, MSF set up a cholera treatment centre (CTC) in a football stadium that was serving as a transit site for refugees in Kigoma, and another at a transit site in Kagunga, about four hours by boat from Kigoma. MSF worked in Kagunga transit camp for just over a month until the end of June. Around 37 people were admitted to the 20-bed centre during the five weeks. Staff also carried out health promotion activities and provided water and sanitation in the camp.

Nyarugusu refugee camp

MSF began work in Nyarugusu camp in May 2015, and set up a CTC. In June, following the unrest in Burundi, there was a new influx of refugees and at one point there were up to 1,000 new arrivals every day. The camp was quickly overwhelmed, and humanitarian organisations struggled to provide enough water, food, shelter and medical services. Teams started running mobile clinics and outpatient nutrition programmes, and supported the intensive therapeutic feeding centre in the Tanzanian Red Cross hospital. In the absence of other organisations with emergency response capacity, teams also distributed around 90 million litres of water.

In collaboration with the Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization and UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, MSF supported an oral cholera vaccination campaign and 232,997 doses of the vaccine were administered. The campaign was completed in July and transmission was successfully halted. There was no cholera outbreak inside Nyarugusu camp.

MSF treated 18,836 people in Nyarugusu, mostly for malaria, diarrhoea or respiratory tract infections. Towards the end of the year, teams began to offer mental health services, and around 600 consultations were carried out per week.


Nduta refugee camp

In October, MSF set up a 100-bed hospital in Nduta refugee camp, providing care for malnutrition, reproductive health and victims of sexual violence. Teams also ran mobile clinics and conducted medical and malnutrition screening for new arrivals. Between October and December, staff carried out 17,591 outpatient consultations, assisted 62 deliveries and performed 9,535 malaria tests (of which 6,201 were positive).

In addition, MSF donated 3,500 tents and distributed over 1,500,000 litres of water.


No. staff in 2015: 19 | Expenditure: €6.1 million | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1993 |

Patient story

© Luca Sola

Melanie Kabura – 33, Community Leader from Burundi.

"They were beating and killing people in the street. We had to leave everything behind; we only came with the clothes we were wearing. We arrived in Nyarugusu in July 2015. Here, life is not good. We sleep on the ground. When the rain comes, it is a big problem. The roof is not strong and we are afraid of what will happen. We do not have everything we need, we want to feel safer. We cannot return to Burundi because we are afraid. I am tired of fleeing from my country. My dream is to have a job that is paid well so that I can look after my children. I want to live in a place where it is stable. But for now, there is no future for my children."