Health services for refugees in Kutapalong Camp, Bangladesh
Decades of conflict in the Rakhine state of Myanmar has resulted in a mass exodus of the ethnic minority Rohingya population. Since 25th August 2017, almost 700,000 men, women, and children from this population have arrived in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Both the effects of displacement and the lack of strong health systems have negatively impacted women and children in particular. There are also high risks of epidemic in the overcrowded camp with poor hygiene conditions.
The health service delivery situation is this camp is weak, fragmented, and overburdened. Other major challenges to seeking and utilizing essential health care are geographic distance to facilities, poor road infrastructure and cultural gender-related barriers. Accessing health services can be particularly challenging for women, who may face difficulties leaving their shelter and travelling through the camp without a male relative to accompany. During the monsoon season, damaged roads, steep muddy terrain and flooded lowlands further obstruct access. The elderly and disabled suffer even worse barriers to accessing adequate care for their needs. At the same time, conditions are perfect for the spread of epidemics and prevention efforts are vital.
Mission East is supporting its Integral Alliance partners Medical Teams International, Food for the Hungry and their local partners to carry out this project.
To provide improved overall health services for refugee populations, particularly women and children under 5 years, through the delivery of essential and life-saving quality primary health care and prevention services.
This project seeks to overcome barriers to accessing and using health care services in Kutupalong camp. This is done at 3 different levels: 1) community-based outreach through a network of Community Health Workers; 2) Health Post as a first point of entry into basic essential health services; and 3) Primary Health Clinic to provide an expanded package of health services. The project aims to have a positive impact on improved health status not only of the general population but particularly of pregnant and lactating women and children under 5 years. At the same time, this project seeks to improve health-seeking behaviour amongst the refugee population, increasing knowledge of preventable diseases and hygiene and thereby positively contributing to a reduction of the risk of communicable diseases.