Govt, UNHCR working to contain diarrhoea outbreak among Rohingyas


DHAKA, Oct 3, 2017 (BSS) – With more than half a million Rohingyas now in Bangladesh, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, Bangladesh public health authorities and other partners are working on several fronts to treat patients and contain an outbreak of diarrhoeal disease.

“A 20-bed diarrhoea treatment centre opened on Monday in Kutupalong camp in the southeast of the country. UNHCR has gathered national and international NGOs under the banner of the Bangladesh government’s Refugee Health Unit to run the centres,” UNHCR spokesperson Andrej Mahecic told a press briefing in Geneva.

By the end of this week, we will have a total of 80 beds in diarrhoea treatment centres in three locations, and we plan to open two more centres next week. As of today, our staff, working with volunteers, who will fan out into the Kutupalong camp and nearby informal settlements to find people who might be sick but have not sought treatment, he added.

UNHCR this week also plans to open medical consultation centres with attached oral rehydration “corners” throughout the 2,000-acre Kutupalong extension site where many of the estimated 507,000 Rohingyas who have arrived since August 25 are now congregating to receive assistance. This is a move to bring medical care closer to those in need.

UNHCR is also supporting an effort by Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health to administer cholera vaccinations to Rohingyas.

“Measures to prevent the spread of disease and cut the rate of severe illness and death also include installation of 32 shallow tube wells, and 250 latrines so far, which UNHCR accomplished with the help of partners. It is vital to provide clean water so that people do not drink from or bathe in contaminated ponds and streams,” Mahecic said.

In another move to speed up delivery of aid to Rohingyas, UNHCR, working with Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC), is beginning a family count to collect data on newly-arrived Rohingyas and their needs. Some 100 freshly-recruited enumerators will begin going shelter-to- shelter on Wednesday to list each day some 1,000 families, which should include about 5,000 individuals.

Each family will receive a card bearing the RRRC logo. The process will enable the government, UNHCR and other agencies – that decide to participate – to target aid to the right people. The process will also give a first indication of Rohingyas with special protection needs, such as pregnant women, breast-feeding mothers, people with disabilities, or elderly people on their own.