Guidance

Uganda: migrant health guide

Advice and guidance on the health needs of migrant patients from Uganda for healthcare practitioners.

Main messages

If the patient is new to the UK:

  • explain to them how the NHS works
  • discuss how this compares to the healthcare system they’ve been used to

Ensure that all patients are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule.

Screen all new entrants (including children) for tuberculosis (TB).

Offer and recommend an HIV test to all adults from Uganda, and consider offering an HIV test to infants and children who have recently arrived in the UK.

Offer to all sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice.

Consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly among those who have recently arrived, because Uganda has an intermediate prevalence.

Consider screening for hepatitis C, because Uganda has a considerably higher prevalence than the UK.

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

Be advised that there is a risk of typhoid infection in Uganda.

Infectious diseases

Immunisation

Ensure that all patients, especially children, are up-to-date with the UK immunisation schedule. See the complete schedules in the Immunisation collection

Tuberculosis

There is a high incidence of TB in Uganda (40 to 499 cases per 100,000), so:

  • screen all new entrants (including children) for TB according to NICE guidelines
  • refer to TB services promptly if screening is positive
  • maintain long term vigilance for symptoms of TB even if initial screening is negative
  • be aware that TB is a notifiable disease

Sexually transmitted infections and HIV

There is a high rate of HIV in Uganda (>1%), so:

Although recent global data on STIs are not available, countries with high HIV rates tend to have higher rates of STIs, and the range of STIs encountered in Uganda may vary from those in the UK, so offer to sexually active individuals:

  • a full sexual health screen
  • safer sex health promotion advice by referral to local genito-urinary medicine services

Hepatitis B

Uganda has an intermediate prevalence of hepatitis B, so:

  • consider screening for hepatitis B, particularly those who have recently arrived
  • offer screening for hepatitis B to all pregnant women during each pregnancy
  • immunise appropriately babies born to mothers who are hepatitis B positive, and follow-up accordingly
  • be aware that the UK has a selective immunisation programme for hepatitis B

Hepatitis C

Uganda has a considerably higher prevalence of hepatitis C than the UK, so consider screening for hepatitis C if other risk factors apply.

Travel plans and advice

Ask opportunistically about any travel plans the patient may have to visit friends and relatives in their country of origin, and see National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC), or the Health Protection Scotland websites (TRAVAX and fitfortravel), for travel advice.

Malaria

There is a high risk of malaria in Uganda, mainly due to P. falciparum, so:

Typhoid

There is a risk of typhoid infection in Uganda, so:

  • ensure that travellers to Uganda are offered typhoid immunisation and advice on prevention of enteric fever
  • remember enteric fever in the differential diagnosis of illness in patients with a recent history of travel to-or-from Uganda

Helminths

There is a risk of helminth infections in Uganda, including:

  • schistosomiasis
  • lymphatic filariasis
  • soil transmitted helminthiasis

Women’s health

Reproductive health indicators

Reproductive health indicator UK Uganda
Number of children per woman¹ 2 7
Use of contraception² 82% 23.7%

¹lifetime average; ²by woman of reproductive age or partner

No data are available on:

  • mammography screening rates
  • cervical cancer screening rates

Female genital mutilation (FGM)

Healthcare practitioners are advised that FGM has regularly been documented in Uganda.

Nutritional and metabolic concerns

Anaemia

There is a moderate risk of anaemia in adults(estimated prevalence in non-pregnant women is 20 to 40%) and pre-school children (estimated prevalence is 20 to 40%), so:

  • be alert to the possibility of anaemia in recently arrived migrants, particularly women and pre-school children
  • test as clinically indicated

Vitamin D

Consider the possibility of vitamin D deficiency in people who may be at risk due to:

  • covering their body for cultural or religious reasons (lack of sunlight)
  • skin colour
  • diet (vegan or vegetarian)

Vitamin A

There is a high risk of vitamin A deficiency in Uganda.

Iodine

People from Uganda may be at risk of adverse health consequences due to excessive intake of iodine.

Country profile

Health indicators and health care

WHO Global Health Observatory has a summary of health indicators and health care in Uganda.

Culture, politics and history

BBC News and The World Factbook provide background information on the culture, politics and history of Uganda.

Languages

The main languages used in Uganda are:

  • English (official national language, taught in grade schools, used in courts of law and by most newspapers and some radio broadcasts),
  • Ganda or Luganda (most widely used of the Niger-Congo languages, preferred for native language publications in the capital and may be taught in school)
  • other Niger-Congo languages
  • Nilo-Saharan languages
  • Swahili
  • Arabic

Source: The World Factbook


Religions

Religion Population (%)¹
Protestant² 42
Roman Catholic 41.9
Muslim 12.1
Other 3.1
None 0.9

¹2002 census; ²Anglican 35.9%, Pentecostal 4.6%, Seventh-Day Adventist 1.5%

Source: The World Factbook

Migration to the UK

There were almost 60,000 people from Uganda living in the UK at the time of the 2011 Census.

Published 31 July 2014