Myanmar :: Bi‐weekly Situation Report 24 – 5 December 2019
:: A total of 1,270,70 doses of oral cholera vaccine (OCV) was approved for the OCV campaign, targeting around 635,000 individuals, which will take place from 8 to 14 December in the Rohingya camps and 8 to 31 December in the host communities.
:: Since 5 September 2019, a total of 213 cases of Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) have tested positive by cholera Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs), or culture.
:: An assessment undertaken for the operational risks associated with Fecal Sludge management (FSM) and water sources has concluded that, urgent actions are required to improve the water safety situation in these camps.
As per Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) report of September 2019, there are 914,998 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. This includes 34,172 refugees from Myanmar who registered before 31st August 2017. All refugees, including new arrivals, face compounding vulnerabilities, including in health. WHO has been responding to this crisis since September 2017…
Dec 21, 2019 Volume 394 Number 10216 p2201-2284
The Rohingya people: past, present, and future
Aung San Suu Kyi’s fall from grace is complete. Last week she gave an inhumane defence of Myanmar, a nation being tried for genocide, in a hearing at the International Court of Justice. But while events in The Hague monopolise the world’s attention, the appalling situation for the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh is being neglected.
The Rohingya people have long been disenfranchised, including with respect to health, but since a mass flight from killing, rape, and arson in 2017, almost 1 million now live in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar. Sanitation is poor, food is scarce, and shelters are basic and overcrowded. Humanitarian agencies have brought some stability, but the health situation is precarious.
The risk of infectious disease outbreaks is high: measles and diphtheria have already struck. And now a huge cholera vaccination campaign, with 635 000 doses, has begun after a series of cases of acute watery diarrhoea, some positive for cholera. Sexual abuse and intimate partner violence have been widely reported. The trauma of sexual violence and displacement from Myanmar, combined with a lack of prospects and unemployment in Bangladesh, is harming mental health, ranging from anxiety to depression to suicidal thoughts; 80 000 children are estimated to have severe mental distress. Fewer than half of births take place in health facilities. Only 46% of health centres have insulin. Disability care, eye care, oral care, and the care of older people are severely lacking. To describe the humanitarian situation in Cox’s Bazar is to list shortcomings in practically every facet of health.
Efforts at repatriation have failed, naturally, without major change in Myanmar and guarantees of safety. The Bangladeshi Government has blocked communications and intends to build a barbed wire fence around the area, as tensions with the local population grow. Plans to give the Rohingya a more permanent home elsewhere in Bangladesh have been mooted. Meanwhile, a new generation is being born in the camps of Cox’s Bazar, a generation whose health and prospects are in jeopardy. Their future is uncertain. For the present, the very least we can give them is our attention.