KEY 2020 MEDICAL FIGURES
litres of chlorinated water distributed
individual mental health consultations
The authorities in Bangladesh implemented restrictions on movement and other measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, making it more challenging to provide humanitarian assistance and disrupting access to healthcare for both Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi communities.
MSF focused on ensuring continuity of healthcare for Rohingya refugees, who live in massive, overcrowded camps on the border with Myanmar, and for communities in urban slums, adapting our programs as needed in the face of COVID-19.
Our medical teams ran 12 facilities in Cox’s Bazar district, offering healthcare to both Rohingya refugees and host communities. In three of these facilities, we set up dedicated isolation and treatment centres for severe acute respiratory tract infections. In six others, we adapted areas to treat potential COVID-19 patients. Staff observed a sustained drop of around 50 per cent in outpatient consultations and a similar decrease in the number of refugees presenting at our clinics with acute respiratory tract problems. This indicated that patients with COVID-19-related symptoms were not comfortable seeking care.
Within the refugee camps, MSF was forced to scale down routine vaccinations and community surveillance and to suspend other activities, such as regular outreach, community engagement and hygiene promotion, as only Rohingya volunteers were allowed to raise awareness of health issues inside the camps. To support public efforts to reduce transmission risks, our teams distributed nearly 300,000 face masks in Ukhiya.
In our two urban clinics in Kamrangirchar district in the capital, Dhaka, MSF provided reproductive healthcare and medical and psychological support for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence. We also offered occupational health services, including treatment for workers diagnosed with occupational diseases as well as preventive care and risk assessment in factories. Staff conducted almost 5,000 consultations for factory workers and ran mobile clinics offering healthcare to tannery workers in Savar subdistrict.