Refugees in the Uganda Demographic & Health Survey

The inclusion of a representative sample of refugees in the national Demographic and Health Survey in Uganda – one stratum for the northern population and another for those in the southwest, reflecting the current geographic distribution of refugees.

13 Jul, 2023

Overall objectives

The collection of health data of refugees and host communities will inform the provision of inclusive health services and improve the efficient allocation of resources. It will inform UNHCR humanitarian assistance and World Bank development programs, as well as multiple government initiatives.

Activity description

The proposed activity will support representative refugee inclusion in the national Demographic and Health Survey (DHS), which captures a rich set of health-related concepts and a range of socio-economic indicators. It will add two strata to the DHS sample for the refugee population, one for the northern and another for the southwestern part of the country, reflecting the current distribution of refugees in the country.

Engagement with partners

The DHS is implemented by Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), in close collaboration with the Ministry of Health and funded by United States Agency for International Development, the United Nations Children’s Fund, the United Nations Population Fund and the World Bank. The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the World Bank and the JDC will be the primary international supporters; technically, financially and logistically. Access to the refugee settlements for data collection will be facilitated by UBOS, the Office of the Prime Minister, UNHCR, and local authorities.

Background and Context

Uganda hosts the second-highest number of refugees globally and the highest number in Africa, with over 1.5 million refugees. The majority have arrived in Uganda since 2016 from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda maintains a progressive refugee policy. Its legal framework allows refugees freedom of movement as well as the right to work, establish a business, own property, and access national services. A longtime global leader in its approach to peaceful co-existence with host communities, Uganda provides refugees with plots of land for housing and cultivation in dedicated settlements and access to the same health centers and schools as host communities.

As part of its wider commitment to refugees, the Government of Uganda has made an explicit pledge under the Global Compact to include refugees into its national statistics.


For further details on this activity, please contact:

Felix Schmieding –

Additional resources


The Global Compact on Refugees


Uganda Demographic & Health Surveys


International Recommendations on Refugee Statistics

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