Community Partners International's Board Chair Dr. Tom Lee is an Emergency Room Physician working on the front lines of the COVID-19 response in Los Angeles. In this blog post, he reflects on the challenges he has seen in the last few weeks as the U.S. struggles to cope with the COVID-19 outbreak, and shares his concerns about the potential impact of the pandemic on countries with fragile health systems like Myanmar and Bangladesh.
"There is a tendency during times like these that we look inwards – to our families and to ourselves. But we must also continue to look outwards – to our friends, our communities, our country and the world."
Somudah and her family have been living as refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, since September 2017, after fleeing violence in Myanmar. The family is one of many thousands in Cox’s Bazar served by CPI’s Community Health Volunteer program and other services. To mark the second anniversary of the Rohingya Refugee Crisis, we spoke to Somudah about the difficulties she and her family have faced over the past two years, and her hopes for the future.
On World Humanitarian Day, Community Partners International (CPI) is mobilizing to support communities in Mon State, Myanmar, affected by severe flooding. Between August 16 and 18, CPI staff traveled with members of the Bo Bo Win Emergency Rescue Foundation from the Myanmar Health CSO Network (Mon State) to five flooded villages Kyaikmaraw Township to distribute packs of rice to 625 households. CPI also distributed water purification tablets and instruction pamphlets provided by the Mon State Health Department.
For Rohingya refugees from Myanmar sheltering in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, the months of June, July and August can be particularly risky. This is the monsoon season and the refugees’ flimsy bamboo and tarpaulin shelters offer little protection against severe weather and flooding. High population density combined with deforestation have created a high risk of landslides. Community Partners International (CPI) trains and equips a network of 80 Rohingya Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) to provide emergency preparedness, first response and rescue services to their communities during the monsoon season. CPI’s first responder training covers a range of key topics including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), wound care, hemorrhage control, and safe patient lifting and transportation. CHVs are equipped with rescue kits that include first aid supplies, a life vest, a head torch, stretchers and throw lines. We recently spoke to two CPI-supported CHVs, Rihana and Rohima, about the first response and rescue services that they provide to their community in Camp 1W of the Kutupalong Expansion Site in Cox's Bazar.
Renewed tensions and conflict in Kachin State, Myanmar, have created a humanitarian emergency with nearly 100,000 people forcibly displaced into more than 130 displacement sites across the state. It is crucial that these displaced communities have access to basic health care and nutrition services to help them survive during these precarious times.