Key medical figures:
• 135,650 outpatient consultations
• 2,300 births assisted
People of the Rohingya ethnic and religious minority continued to cross into Bangladesh in 2013, fleeing severe discrimination and sporadic violence in Myanmar.
More than 200,000 Rohingya have escaped to Bangladesh from Myanmar over the past four decades and are losing hope of ever returning home. They suffer widespread discrimination, and as the majority are undocumented they are excluded from healthcare. At Cox’s Bazar, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continues to provide comprehensive medical assistance, including basic healthcare and maternal and mental health services, for both the host community and the 30,000 unregistered Rohingya in the makeshift camp at Kutupalong. The clinic also has a stabilisation unit for severely malnourished children, a small inpatient department and a diarrhoea treatment centre. MSF has an ambulance to transport severely ill patients to hospital for specialised treatment. More than 74,300 patients were treated at the clinic in 2013. Dhaka, the capital city, has a population of 15 million. In Kamrangirchar, the city’s largest slum, half a million people live on the bank of the Buriganga River, with very little access to the city’s overstretched healthcare system. An MSF team runs a health centre in the slum, providing free, basic healthcare, and sexual and reproductive health services to young women.
Many people living in the slum suffer from diarrhoea and skin conditions resulting from poor water quality and unhygienic living conditions. The MSF programme is therefore also developing a stronger focus on environmental health. The project in Fulbaria treating primary kala azar began in 2010, and successfully introduced a treatment with liposomal amphotericin B. The project was handed over to the Ministry of Health in March this year, as they were in a position to manage it. MSF is currently awaiting permission from the ministry to start treating post-kala azar dermal leishmaniasis.
On 24 April, an eight-storey building housing garment factories that employed thousands of people collapsed in Savar, a subdistrict of Dhaka. Many of those who survived experienced symptoms of psychological trauma. An MSF team provided mental health support to 413 survivors and rescuers. MSF also gave psychological first aid to 28 people who had suffered burns from fire bombs thrown on public transport during pre-election violence in Dhaka on 12 December.
30 years old, brought her children to the MSF clinic in Kutupalong I live with my husband and my five children in a house in the camp. We arrived five years ago from Myanmar because the situation was not good there. My three youngest children were all born here in the camp. The youngest was born in the MSF clinic nine months ago. Both mine and my husband’s parents live in Myanmar so we are all alone and have to fend for ourselves. My husband can sometimes find work as a day labourer, as a rickshaw puller or carrying things, but sometimes this is difficult and then we do not have anything.
No. staff end 2013: 311 | Year MSF first worked in the country: 1985