WHO praises Bangladesh for curtailing outbreak of deadly diseases among Rohingya migrants

New Delhi: Outbreaks of deadly diseases were "prevented and rapidly curtailed" among nearly 10 lakh Rohingya refugees and thousands of lives were saved due to the efforts of the Bangladesh government, WHO and other health partners in the last one year, the global health body said on Friday.

The regional office of the World Health Organisation's (WHO) South East Asian Region said despite this, the Rohingya refugees remained vulnerable even today with their evolving health needs and a severe fund crunch, threatening the continuity of life-saving health services in their camps.

Logo of World Health Organisation. AFP

Logo of World Health Organisation. AFP

"Unprecedented efforts have been made in the last year and in the most challenging conditions. Deadly diseases such as cholera have been prevented and measles and diphtheria curtailed rapidly with quick roll-out and scale-up of health services and mass vaccination campaigns.

"It is remarkable that not only has the mortality rate among the Rohingyas remained lower than expected in an emergency of such a scale, it has also reduced significantly in the last six months," Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director, WHO South-East Asia, said. She lauded the Bangladesh government's work in this regard.

The arrival of nearly seven lakh Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar, beginning 25 August last year, was one of the largest ever population influxes over such a short span of time, the global health body said.

In response, WHO, with Bangladesh's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, coordinated the emergency health services provided by the nearly 107 health partners on the ground, to ensure access to essential services for the Rohingyas.

In the last year, 155 health posts have been established, each catering to around 7,700 people and in addition, 60 primary healthcare facilities covering 20,000 people each and 11 secondary-care facilities being accessed by nearly 1,15,000 people each have also been established, WHO said.

"Despite these efforts, challenges remain. Floods and landslides in the ongoing monsoon season continue to displace people and affect the functioning of the health facilities.

"The Rohingya population is reluctant to access sexual and reproductive health services and as a result, 70 per cent of births are still taking place outside of health facilities," the global health body pointed out.


Updated Date: Aug 24, 2018 19:02 PM

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