Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Rohingya’ Category

Monsoon rains set in over the weekend in Bangladesh, flooding Rohingya refugee camps

NPR

“……a Rohingya boy….died when a mud wall of his shelter fell on top of him…..His mother also was injured in the collapse…..”


UN agencies and Burma’s government hammered out text for an MoU paving the way for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees

UNHCR

NYT: Multimedia

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNDP, the UN Development Programme, agreed today in Nay Pyi Taw with the Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on the text for the tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). It is planned that the MoU will be signed in the course of the next week, the exact date of which is still to be confirmed.

This tripartite Memorandum will establish a framework for cooperation aimed at creating the conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of Rohingya refugees to their places of origin or of their choosing. Since the conditions are not conducive for voluntary return yet, the MoU is the first and necessary step to support the Government’s efforts to change that situation and is also intended to support recovery and resilience-based development for the benefit of all communities living in Rakhine State.

The agreement will provide a framework for UNHCR and UNDP to be given access to Rakhine State, including to refugees’ places of origin and areas of potential return that has not been permitted since violence broke out in August 2017. The access, once effective, will allow UNHCR to assess the conditions on the ground and carry out protection activities. This will also enable UNHCR to eventually provide independent information to refugees about the conditions in their places of origin, helping them to make informed decisions if the conditions are right for them to return in safety and dignity. The MoU will also allow the two UN agencies to carry out needs assessments in affected communities and strengthen the capacity of local authorities to support the voluntary repatriation process.

The MoU, once signed, will affirm the Myanmar Government’s commitment to work with UNHCR and UNDP to find a solution for the Rohingya population, in line with the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State. The recommendations include establishing a clear and voluntary pathway to citizenship and ensuring freedom of movement for all people in Rakhine State, irrespective of religion, ethnicity or citizenship status. The development programmes supporting livelihoods and social cohesion will benefit all communities.

The signing of the MoU is an integral part of a comprehensive approach by UNHCR and UNDP to find solutions for Rohingya refugees and supporting transition towards a peaceful, fair and prosperous future for all the people of Rakhine. On 13 April 2018, the Government of Bangladesh and UNHCR also signed a MoU relating to voluntary returns of Rohingya refugees once conditions in Myanmar are deemed conducive.

For more information on this topic, please contact:

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Diarrhea and Acute Respiratory Infection, Oral Cholera Vaccination Coverage, and Care-Seeking Behaviors of Rohingya Refugees — Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, October–November 2017

CDC

Summers A, Humphreys A, Leidman E, et al. Notes from the Field: Diarrhea and Acute Respiratory Infection, Oral Cholera Vaccination Coverage, and Care-Seeking Behaviors of Rohingya Refugees — Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, October–November 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:533–535. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6718a6.

“……Violence in the Rakhine State of Myanmar, which began on August 25, 2017, prompted mass displacement of Rohingya to the bordering district of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Joining the nearly 213,000 Rohingya already in the region, an estimated 45,000 persons settled in two preexisting refugee camps, Nayapara and Kutupalong, and nearly 550,000 into new makeshift settlements (1). Mass violence and displacement, accompanied by malnutrition, overcrowding, poor hygiene, and lack of access to safe water and health care increase the vulnerability of children to infectious diseases, including pneumonia and diarrhea (2).…..”

 


A massive cholera vaccination campaign begins to protect nearly one million Rohingyas and their host communities living in and around the refugee camps in Bangladesh

WHO

One million Rohingya refugees, host communities being vaccinated against cholera

Cox’s Bazar, 6 May 2018: A massive cholera vaccination campaign began today to protect nearly one million Rohingyas and their host communities living in and around the refugee camps in Bangladesh, to prevent any potential outbreak during the ongoing monsoon season.

This is a second cholera vaccination campaign being held for the Rohingyas and their host communities. Earlier 900,000 doses of oral cholera vaccine were administered to the vulnerable population in two phases in October – November last year.

“Considering the water and sanitation conditions in the overcrowded camps and the increased risk of disease outbreaks in the monsoon season, the health sector is taking all possible measures to prevent cholera and other water and vector borne diseases,” says Dr. Bardan Jung Rana, WHO Representative to Bangladesh.

As many as 245 mobile vaccination teams have been deployed to vaccinate all people over the age of one year in refugee camps and host communities in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts during nearly week-long campaign led by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, with support of World Health Organization, UNICEF and icddr,b and other partners.

“We have managed to prevent the cholera outbreak since the first campaign in October last year, but flood water, heavy storms and landslides in the monsoon season could damage water and sanitation facilities in the camps, increasing the risk again of an outbreak of this dangerous disease. We have to take all initiatives to address the risk, including preventive measures through vaccination,” says Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF Representative in Bangladesh.

The oral cholera vaccines have been made available through the Inter-Agency Coordinating Group with members from WHO, UNICEF, Médecins sans Frontières and International Federation of the Red Cross. The vaccines and supplies are financed by Gavi, the vaccine alliance.

“This vaccination campaign is a part of the ongoing efforts of the government and the health sector partners to protect nearly a million people, including at least 135,000 Bangladeshis, who have been affected by the influx since last year,” says Professor Dr. Abul Kalam Azad, Director General of Health Services (DGHS), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Bangladesh.

In addition to vaccination, consistent efforts are being made to improve access to clean water and sanitation and promote hygiene. UNICEF has been scaling up interventions and communication on safe practices.

The World Health Organization has raised an early warning, alert and response emergency surveillance system, is monitoring water quality and working with the Department of Public Health Engineering to enhance local laboratory capacity.

Both WHO and UNICEF have prepositioned life-saving supplies to ensure rapid response to any outbreak.

The WHO-led Health Sector is supporting setting up of diarrhea treatment centres, including five supported by UNICEF and managed by icddr,b.

Editorial Note:

The Maternal Neonatal and Adolescent Health (MNC&AH) of Director General of Health Services (DGHS) is leading the oral cholera vaccination campaign through district and upazila level health managers and administration as well as DGHS Coordination Cell in Cox’s Bazar, Armed Forces, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission (RRRC), development partners, including UN agencies, and national and international non-government organizations.


Monsoon season: The world’s largest refugee camp, a temporary home to more than half a million Rohingyas that sprawls precariously across barren hills in southeastern Bangladesh may soon face landslides, flash floods, & inundation.

NY Times


The upcoming monsoon season in Bangladesh could put tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees staying at the highly congested settlements in Cox’s Bazar district at serious risk.

UNHCR

  • At least 100,000 refugees could be in grave danger from landslides and floods.
  • Up to one third of the settlement area could be flooded
  • More than 85,000 refugees could lose their shelters.
  • Another 23,000 refugees living on steep slopes within the site could be at risk of landslides.
  • key services in the settlement are also at risk of being washed away, including latrines, washrooms, tube wells, and health centers.

 

 


Reports of 5 Rohingya mass graves


Rohingya: US diplomat resigns from international advisory board because it was a “whitewash” and he did not want to be part of a “cheerleading squad for the government [Myanmar]”.

BBC

 


The rape of Rohingya women by Myanmar’s security forces

Pulitzer

“…..The AP interviewed 29 women and girls who say they were raped by Myanmar’s armed forces, and found distinct patterns in their accounts, their assailants’ uniforms and the details of the rapes themselves. The most common attack involved groups of soldiers storming into a house, beating any children inside and then beating and gang raping the women. ….”


Rohingya: From 3 November 2017 through 12 December 2017, a total of 804 suspected diphtheria cases including 15 deaths were reported among the displaced Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar.

WHO

Diphtheria – Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh

Disease outbreak news
13 December 2017

From 3 November 2017 through 12 December 2017, a total of 804 suspected diphtheria cases including 15 deaths were reported among the displaced Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar (Figure 1). The first suspected case was reported on 10 November 2017 by a clinic of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Cox’s Bazar.

Figure 1: Number of diphtheria cases among the displaced Rohingya population in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh reported by date of illness onset from 3 November 2017 through 12 December 20171

1Date of onset information is missing for 45 (5.6%) cases.

Source: Médecins Sans Frontières

Of the suspected cases, 73% are younger than 15 years of age and 60% females (the sex for one percent cases was not reported). Fourteen of 15 deaths reported among suspected diphtheria cases were children younger than 15 years of age. To date, no cases of diphtheria have been reported from local communities.

Public health response

Since August 2017, more than 646 000 people from neighbouring Myanmar have gathered in densely populated camps and temporary settlements with poor access to clean water, sanitation and health services. A multi-agency diphtheria task force, led by the Ministry of Health Family Welfare of Bangladesh, has been providing clinical and public health services to the displaced population. WHO has mobilized US$ 3 million from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE) to support essential health services in Bangladesh.

WHO is working with health authorities to provide tetanus diphtheria (Td) vaccines for children aged seven to 15 years, as well as pentavalent vaccines (diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, Haemophilus influenzae type b, and hepatitis B) and pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (PCV) for children aged six weeks to six years. A list of essential medicines and required supplies to support the response is being finalized by WHO and partners.The Serum Institute of India has donated 300 000 doses of pentavalent vaccines for use in the response.

WHO risk assessment

The current outbreak in Cox’s Bazar is evolving rapidly. To date, all suspected cases have occurred among the displaced Rohingya population, who are living in temporary settlements with difficult and crowded conditions. The coverage of diphtheria toxoid containing vaccines among the displaced Rohingya population is difficult to estimate, although diphtheria outbreaks are an indication of low overall population vaccination coverage. Available vaccination data for Bangladesh indicates that the coverage of diphtheria toxoid containing vaccines is high. However, spillover into the local population cannot be ruled out. WHO considers the risk at the national level to be moderate and low at the regional and global levels.

WHO advice

WHO recommends timely clinical management of suspected diphtheria cases that is consistent with WHO guidelines consisting of diphtheria antitoxin, appropriate antibiotics and implementation of infection prevention and control measures. High-risk populations such as young children, close contacts of diphtheria cases, and health workers should be vaccinated on priority basis. A coordinated response and community engagement can reduce the risk of further transmission and help to control the outbreak.

For more information on diphtheria, please see the link below:


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