'A total 86 additional staff, including 25 medical officers and 40 nurses, have been hired by the Ministry of Health'
The monsoon rains have wreaked havoc at the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, both damaging infrastructure and leading to an increase in waterborne diseases.
Humanitarian agencies in the region are still scrambling to relocate a large number of the refugees who are still living in areas at the risk of landslides.
According to the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) weekly situation report for June 14-21, the monsoon rains brought 95mm of rainfall during the reporting week compared to 537mm in the previous week.
A total 116 shelters were damaged in the reporting period, with 55 people affected by landslides, 234 by floods, 425 by wind and storms, and 13 by water logging. In total, 727 people were affected, the ISCG report stated.
Since May 11, a total 3,303 shelters, 22 water points, 300 latrines and one health facility were reported damaged, while 14 health facilities were temporarily closed during the downpour.
In addition, 215,000 refugees are living in areas at risk of landslides, with 42,000 in the highest risk areas. A total 32,000 refugees had been relocated as of June 17, with plans to relocate a further 3,500 by the end of the month.
A four-day lull in the rains during the reporting period afforded humanitarian workers a much needed opportunity to carry out repairs, focusing primarily on bridges, culverts and roads damaged by the rains to ensure the reestablishment of any disrupted services.
Waterborne diseases on the rise
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) situation report for June 13-19, 873 cases of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) had been reported in the period, which is near double the average from previous weeks. This brings the total number of AWD cases reported in 2018 to 116,196.
Aid agencies fear the numbers will increase further if the rains continue, and the situation may become an emergency.
The WHO report added that there was a decrease in the number of reported cases as a result of the heavy rain and Eid holidays, so the actual number of cases in the past week is likely to be higher.
Acute respiratory infections (ARI), AWD and unexplained fever are the three leading syndromes with the highest proportional morbidity over the past week, at 12%, 11% and 6.9%, respectively, the WHO report said.
To strengthen health services during the monsoon, the number of health workers at the district hospital in Cox’s Bazar, which is the only facility providing referral services, has been bolstered. A total 86 additional staff, including 25 medical officers and 40 nurses, have been hired by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the Sadar district hospital. The 250-bed hospital has been handling 400-600 patients per day.
“The additional staff will help augment service delivery at the hospital, as we seek to enhance capacities to treat acute watery diarrhoea cases, in addition to trauma and obstetric care,” said WHO Representative to Bangladesh Dr Bardan Jung Rana.
Superintendent of Sadar Hospital Dr Pu Chaw Nu said: “One of our greatest concerns has been inadequate human resources at the hospital. The additional staff will help strengthen services for both Rohingya population and the host community.”