Living in crowded and cramped conditions, Rohingya refugees sheltering in Bangladesh are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. On August 10, 2021, amid a worrying spike in infections, the Government of Bangladesh launched the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign for refugees over 55 years of age in Kutupalong Refugee Camp. As the first line of health care, volunteers supported by Community Partners International (CPI) and local partner Green Hill mobilized to encourage and support eligible community members in Camps 1W and 4 to take up the vaccine.
Mohammad Taher is a Rohingya Community Immunization Volunteer supported by Community Partners International (CPI) and Green Hill in the world's largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. Each day, he visits households in his neighborhood to help pregnant and women and young children get vaccinated against deadly diseases.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has placed increased pressure on health systems, newly-graduated young doctors around the world have stepped up and shouldered responsibility beyond their years and experience in order to provide care to people in need. This is particularly true in countries with fragile and under-resourced health systems like Bangladesh.
Community Partners International's intrepid Fecal Sludge Management team, aka the Sludgebusters, play a vital if unglamorous role keeping latrines safe and hygienic in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.
"We have a real opportunity here to push back hepatitis B. With the right approach, we can free a generation of children in Myanmar from this debilitating and deadly virus.”
Seven years ago, Khin Aye went for a routine prenatal check-up while pregnant with her first child. The hospital staff conducted a blood test. “When the test came back, they told me I had hepatitis B.”
World AIDS Day: “I visit patients’ houses secretly to look after them when they are too ill to go to hospital.”
Thiri, 37, found out that she was HIV positive during a routine checkup while pregnant in 2013. She was afraid and alone. “I was so scared that others would find out that I had HIV so I didn’t leave the house for a long time. I couldn’t tell my parents.”
Daw Thet Thet lives with her husband and two young daughters, a three-year-old and a baby of six months, in Hlaingtharya, a low-income suburb of Myanmar’s commercial capital, Yangon. A few months ago, Daw Thet Thet’s husband, a motorbike taxi driver, started coughing and having fever. Concerned about costs, they delayed seeking health care until the situation became serious.
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.
Shomshida lives in the world’s largest and most densely populated refugee camp, Kutupalong, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Kutupalong is currently home to more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees from Rakhine State. Myanmar. She shares her small shelter, a rickety structure of bamboo and tarpaulin, with her husband and two-year old son. In late August 2017, she fled the violence in Rakhine State with her extended family. They walked for 15 days through jungle and across rivers, eventually reaching the border and crossing into Bangladesh. Her elderly father was unable to walk so they carried him throughout the arduous journey.
Daw Theint Su, a peer educator at Population Services International’s (PSI) TOP Centers (formerly the Targeted Outreach Program), has been living with HIV since 2003. Here she shares her experiences and talks about her work supporting HIV education and prevention.