In August 2017, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees flooded into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh causing the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis. Today, there are more than 860,000 Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar, who fled violence in Myanmar. Men, women, and children traveled to Bangladesh by foot and boat, carrying the young and the elderly on their backs. They arrived in need of food, water, shelter, as well as medical and psychological support. The settlement sites in Bangladesh are small and were unprepared for the massive influx of families.
ANEMIA IN 59.6% OF CHILDREN
52% OF HAND-PUMP SAMPLES CONTAMINATED
More than 70% of households in Cox’s Bazar rely on tube-wells fitted with hand-pumps to collect their water. Recent water testing in several refugee camps found that at least 52% of hand-pumps show signs of e-coli contamination. Results indicate that even if the water is not contaminated at the source it is very likely to become contaminated at the household.
Meeting the food security and nutrition needs for this population also poses issues. Although the rate of global acute malnutrition has decreased to 10.9%, the rate of anemia in children remains high at 59.6%. Stunting among children is also a major public health concern, with a prevalence of 32.6%.
Each year those residing in the camps and the host communities are at severe risk of flooding during monsoon season. Flooding increases the risk of a deadly cholera outbreak and families are in desperate need of clean water. GlobalMedic is responding.
Another struggle resulting from the mass influx of Rohingya refugees is the strain being placed on existing healthcare systems. This has resulted in inadequate access to healthcare for not only the Rohingya population but local Bangladeshi communities as well. With our local partners, we are operating a health clinic in Cox’s Bazar to support the needs of more than 25,000 Rohingya refugees and members of the host community.
The clinic will provide maternal and newborn care, reproductive health care, nutrition and emergency health care. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we are also providing public health programming including the promotion of social distancing and wearing of face masks.
Through this program, we are able to provide critical services to communities that otherwise would not be able to access the tools they need to protect their health.