WHO grant for healthcare of Rohingya refugees

Rohingya refugeesNEW DELHI: The WHO has released its first tranche of emergency funding of USD 175,000 to provide essential medicines and life-saving healthcare to the “vulnerable population” in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar that has witnessed an influx of thousands of Rohingyas from Myanmar.

The mobile medical teams of Bangladesh’s health ministry will help deliver those services amid a highly challenging situation, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia, said.

“Vulnerable populations require access to health services, including emergency and basic healthcare.

Access for women to reproductive health services is especially important,” she said.

“Poor nutrition, communicable diseases (including vaccine-preventable and water-borne diseases), injuries and other concerns such as mental health provide immense public health challenges that the Ministry of Health, Bangladesh, WHO and other health partners are working to address,” the World Health Organization (WHO) statement said.

The statement made no mention of Rohingya Muslims specifically but the UN has stated that since August 25, over 410,000 Rohingyas have poured into Bangladesh.

More than 380,000 people have gathered in makeshift or spontaneous settlements, the WHO statement said.

The WHO South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF) grant of USD 175,000 will support 20 mobile medical teams to provide essential services for at least two months.

The grant is also being used to procure essential medicines and medical supplies to be distributed to pre- existing health facilities in Cox’s Bazar area.

“Mass immunization is one of the most powerful ways to keep vulnerable communities safe from communicable diseases, especially when overcrowding and inadequate access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene are present,” Dr Singh said.

WHO is working closely with International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and other health partners in ensuring that adequate health services are provided to the vulnerable population. -PTI

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