IOM Begins Vaccination of US-Bound Refugees in Rwanda

Rwanda - IOM has begun the vaccination in Kigali, Rwanda of refugees due to be resettled in the United States. The vaccinations are part of a three-day IOM medical health assessment process for the United States Refugee Resettlement Program (USRAP).

The refugees will receive multiple vaccinations, depending on their age, before they arrive in the US. The goal is to provide cost-effective public health interventions, improve refugee health and limit the number of vaccinations the refugees will need after they arrive in the US.

In addition to Rwanda, the overseas vaccination scheme is being implemented by IOM with USRAP in Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya, Thailand, Malaysia and Nepal. It will provide vaccinations to 56 per cent of US-bound refugees each year.

All refugees, regardless of age, will receive vaccinations for up to eight illnesses including measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, haemophilus influenzae type b, diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough. In eight weeks, IOM will make a trip to Gihembe to provide boosters for many of the vaccines administered this week.

Mothers at the Bon Samaritain clinic, where IOM conducts the health assessments, could be seen clutching their children’s Ministry of Health “Mother-Child Booklets”, in which their children’s vaccinations are logged.

They received the booklets as part of the expanded programme on immunization at the Gihembe refugee camp. IOM nurses will review these documents and add the previously administered vaccines to the medical documents required for travel to the US.

In Rwanda, IOM currently processes about 2,000 medical health assessments for US-bound refugees per year. Following vaccination, IOM will work with camp medical staff to identify any adverse reactions.

IOM Rwanda Chief of Mission Catherine Northing said: “As the refugees get ready for their new homes and new lives, the vaccines will help protect them while still in Rwanda and ensure that they are healthy on arrival in the US.”

For further information, please contact Dr Samuel Baghuma at IOM Rwanda, Email:, Tel.+250 252 586710.