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Averting a public health disaster

  • Published at 06:27 pm September 25th, 2017
  • Last updated at 12:24 am September 26th, 2017
Averting a public health disaster
With hundreds of thousands of Rohingya crammed into makeshift refugee camps, the rapid spread of disease becomes an alarming reality. Right now, refugees dispersed across some 68 camps along the border are deprived of basic amenities like safe drinking water and hygiene facilities, World Health Organisation has observed. This means a high incidence of water-borne diseases, and a particularly high risk of a cholera outbreak in what is one of the largest refugee settlements in the world. Tackling disease and averting a public health disaster is the need of the hour, and for that, efforts must be scaled up, and the food and medicine shortages across the camps must be combated. Doctors on the scene right now are overwhelmed and under-resourced, and they bravely try to meet the challenges of such an unprecedented scale. With dirty water and sewage flowing through the encampments, many have gotten sick -- and the mobile medical centres in the area have already treated some 4,500 people for diarrhoea and vaccinated some 80,000 children for measles and polio. Still, thousands of adults are at risk of dying from dehydration. Bangladesh has done a remarkable thing by welcoming the Rohingya refugees into the country asking nothing in return -- not to score political points, but to put humanity first. However, tackling the logistics of health care across the border is now a most daunting task, and for that, Bangladesh needs all the help and aid it can possibly get. At this point, there is no excuse for the rest of the world to keep its eyes closed to the sheer scale of the crisis taking place; we must coordinates our efforts, and our resources, to prevent a health catastrophe, for all our sakes.