UNICEF: 200,000 Rohingya refugee children suffering from water-borne diseases
DHAKA: More than 200,000 Rohingya refugee children are suffering from diarrhea, pneumonia and other waterborne diseases, said UNICEF Bangladesh.
“After such a long and challenging journey (from Myanmar), many children are sick and they need health care right away. They’re traumatized, and need protection and psychological support,” said the head of child protection at UNICEF Bangladesh, Jean Lieby.
“Many babies were born after their mother’s arrival in Bangladesh. This is a growing humanitarian crisis, and children are at the heart of it; 60 percent of the refugees are children.”
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Bangladeshi government have launched mobile medical units for Rohingya camps to address basic health care needs.
“We’re a group of 12 doctors working at Kutupalang camp for the last four days,” said Dr. Mizanur Rahman Apu, a physician working under the Bangladeshi Health Ministry.
“We’re treating children for dehydration, fever and other water-borne diseases. In critical cases, we refer them to local health complexes, satellite clinics and other medical institutes, where they’ll get advanced treatment. Here we’re trying to address basic lifesaving requirements.”
Abul Hashem, a coordinator at Kutupalang camp, said: “Thousands of Rohingya are in dire need of medical assistance. MSF and Bangladeshi doctors are trying their best, but demand is so high they can’t cope.”
He added: “Demand is increasing every day. Every day there’s news of children and elderly refugees dying in different camps.”
He said he buried four children in the last two days, all of whom died from diarrhea and fever.
The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said 13 percent of Rohingya women fleeing violence in Myanmar are either pregnant or lactating mothers in need of lifesaving supplies and health care services for new-borns.
“Women don’t stop getting pregnant or having babies just because an emergency hits,” said Iori Kato, acting representative of the UNFPA Bangladesh.