Dhaka, Thursday   21 March 2019

icddr,b’s Rohingya response shared with partners

 Health & Lifestyle Desk daily-bangladesh.com

 Published: 10:29 PM, 21 March 2019  

Photo: Collected

Photo: Collected

icddr,b organized a dissemination seminar to share its emergency healthcare response and pre-emptive oral cholera vaccination measures among the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals in the capital on Thursday. 

icddr,b and UNICEF jointly conducted a field assessment in Cox’s Bazar in September 2017, and identified the potential risks of a diarrhoeal disease outbreak and related mitigation initiatives required, said a press release. 

Accordingly, icddr,b partnered with UNICEF to strengthen healthcare services for diarrhoeal disease and malnutrition in the Rohingya community. 

As described in the seminar, ‘they came with nothing; they had nothing and needed infrastructure, sanitation, shelter, food, non-food items and health care. 

UNICEF supported the study to evaluate the effectiveness of oral cholera vaccine administered among Rohingyas. 

The resulting work, which prevented a cholera outbreak, has been described as ‘the most successful pre-emptive campaign.’

Dr Tahmeed Ahmed, Senior Director, Nutrition and Clinical Services (NCSD) at icddr,b  briefed about the icddr,b-UNICEF partnership to strengthen acute watery diarrhoea treatment and preparedness initiatives.

In the seminar, Dr Azharul Islam Khan, Head of Hospitals at icddr,b highlighted the implementation process and experiences in community engagement and the vital role connecting with all elements of the community plays in successful dissemination and implementation. 

Dr ASG Faruque, Senior Scientist, NCSD at icddr,b presented on the DTC based diarrhoeal disease surveillance activities, which included the recognition that Cox Bazar was a cholera hotspot and sanitation facilities in the camp created an environment ripe for cholera outbreaks. 

He reported that a total of 820 health care professionals were trained by icddr,b on management of diarrhoeal disease, and the diarrhoeal treatment centers have provided care to 6,156 patients comprised Rohingya and host communities. Some 781 stool specimens were also tested for cholera and found to be negative. 

This icddr,b-UNICEF collaboration will continue through 2019 with limited scope, however one DTC will remain operational while others will be closed temporarily, only to be opened if there is a surge of patients.

During October 2017 to December 2018, there were 4 rounds vaccination campaign took places administering 2.2 million doses of oral cholera vaccine among Rohingyas and host community. 

Dr Ashraful Islam Khan told the audience that the pre-emptive vaccination campaign has prevented an epidemic of cholera in Cox’s Bazar, which was highly anticipated by the global public health community. Historically, cholera outbreaks are common phenomena in humanitarian crisis and have caused thousands of deaths.

Dr Mohammed Abdul Matin, Civil Surgeon, Cox’s Bazar; Brig. General (Retd.)DrBalwinder Sing, Health Sector Coordinator; Prof. Dr Be-Nazir Ahmed, National Consultant at UNICEF also spoke on the occasion. Representatives from the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other stakeholders attended the seminar.