Since the early 1990s, Bangladesh has taken in over 300,000 Rohingyas fleeing violence in Myanmar. Some of these refugees have been able to return to Myanmar. Since August 2017, renewed outbreaks of violence have forced over 700,000 people to flee to Bangladesh, mainly to Cox's Bazar district in the south of the country.
The refugees left their homes with scarcely any belongings and used up all their savings on the journey. In Bangladesh, they are now dependent on humanitarian aid, food, shelter and other vital resources. The refugee camps of Cox's Bazar still lack sufficient sanitation, clean drinking water and basic healthcare services. There is a growing risk of disease outbreaks and epidemics.
The mass influx of refugees has swelled the population in the catchment area of the three hospitals in the region by 30% to over 3 million people, resulting in constantly overcrowded hospitals and a lack of infrastructure, instruments and personnel.
Improved infrastructure and professionally trained hospital staff
In November 2017, the SDC launched its first humanitarian project with the Bangladeshi health authorities in order to improve healthcare services for the local population and Rohingya refugees. During the initial stage of the project, the SDC supplied beds, bedside tables and IV stands for the main hospital in Cox's Bazar, optimising healthcare for 100 patients. A Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) expert assisted the hospitals in procuring and setting up various diagnostic instruments, including ultrasound and blood analysis equipment. To ensure proper use and maintenance of the equipment, the SHA expert also trained hospital staff in how to read and apply the results correctly.