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Medical Care for Myanmar Refugees

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The South Asian country îs situated on a delta of large rivers flowing into the Bay of Bengal, and has a population of around 160 million people crammed into an area of 147,570 square kilometers. The geographical location of the country as well as impacts of climate change makes Bangladesh prone to catastrophic natural disasters like tropical monsoons, frequent floods, and cyclones.

Bangladesh has experienced astonishing economic development in the past years, and has made extraordinary efforts to reduce poverty. However, the country still faces daunting challenges with about 30 million people still living below the poverty line.

Malteser International's activities in Bangladesh commenced with the unprecedented arrival of refugees from Myanmar in August 2017 as a result of an internal conflict in their home country. Although Bangladesh has hosted refugees from Myanmar since the 1990s, the latest influx has doubled the number of refugees in Bangladesh especially in the south-eastern districts of Cox's Bazar and Bandarban.

Responding to the humaitarian crisis in September, Malteser International has been working with a local partner, Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK) to provide medical care for roughly 160,000 people in one refugee camp. Aid activities are strongly focused on the urgent needs of malnourished mothers and children.

The intervention has been expanded to include a second refugee camp.

A Myanmar military action against an insurgent group in the country’s Rakhine State in August forced over 600,000 Rohingya people to cross the border into Bangladesh to seek safety. More than half of these refugees are women and children who have fled the conflict with nothing but their lives, and are currently living under extreme difficulties in makeshift camps in Bangladesh set up by the Bangladeshi government. Despite its willingness and efforts to host the refugees, the country is struggling with the unprecedented situation.

The camps are supervised by the Bangladeshi army and UN institutions. The continuing influx of refugees, however, makes it difficult to provide optimal support in camps. These camps lack water, sanitary facilities, and basic health care, and there are growing fears of an epidemic outbreak. Many refugees are also without food and adequate shelter.

Improved medical care for refugees in Bangladesh

    • Provision of basic health services with emphasis on infant and maternal health in 2 refugee camps.
    • Transfer of emergencies to the nearest hospital
    • Health and hygiene awareness campaigns in the refugee camps
    • Identification and monitoring of the nutritional status of pregnant women, nursing mothers and children aged 6-59 months
    • Provision of Pre-Mix Food rations for identified mothers and children
    • Transfer of emergencies to the nearest supply center for malnourished women and children.

      Reducing human suffering in Bangladesh

      620,000 refugees from Myanmar have arrived in the southern district of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh since August 2017. The refugee emergency in the country has been called the world's fastest-developing humanitarian crisis. Yvonne Dunton is supporting Malteser International's project activities in Bangladesh, and tells us about the situation.

      Read more

      Project info

      Duration: September to December 2017
      Donors: Germany's Relief Coalition (Aktion Deutschland hilft - ADH), German Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt - AA)
      Partner: Gonoshasthaya Kendra (GK)

      Last Updated: November 2017

      Country info

      Capital: Dhaka
      Area: 143,998 km²
      Population: 162 million

      Malteser International project locations: Potibonia


      Rebekka Toyka 
      Email: rebekka.toyka(at)malteser-international.org

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