Moments after the health post’s doors opened for the very first time on Thursday, December 2, 2021, eight-year-old Omme came in with her father Abul. She was suffering from abdominal pain and fever. The doctor on duty saw Omme immediately and provided care. “Everyone is helpful here,” remarked Abul. “The doctor listened carefully and gave my daughter medicine. I am happy.”
The new health post, funded by Community Partners International (CPI) and operated by local partner Green Hill, is located in Camp 1W of Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, and serves both Rohingya refugees and Bangladesh host communities.
“The health post is a valuable addition to the health infrastructure here,” explained Anam Ali, CPI’s Country Director in Bangladesh, who cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony earlier in the day. “Before today, the local community had difficulty reaching care facilities. They needed to walk long distances or try to find money for transport, and they couldn’t be sure that they would receive treatment even when they reached a facility. Now, they have a well-resourced health post on their doorstep.”
The health post offers a wide range of primary health care services encompassing general outpatient care, disease prevention and care, prenatal and postnatal care, safe birth referrals, family planning, gender-based violence prevention and care, a general pharmacy and basic laboratory. The health post outreach team provides health education to the surrounding community to improve general health and hygiene.
The health post immediately experienced high demand from the community. Two days after opening, daily visitor numbers exceeded 140, some way above the anticipated daily caseload of 100 people. CPI is already planning to recruit additional health post staff to handle rising demand in 2022.
On Sunday, December 5, 2021, three days after opening, health post staff mobilized to support the Government of Bangladesh’s COVID-19 vaccination program for Rohingya refugees. Health post staff, trained by the World Health Organization to administer COVID-19 vaccines, began to vaccinate eligible community members.
Laila, 48, was among the first group of community members to get her COVID-19 vaccination at the health post. “I have wanted to get the vaccine for a while. I’m an older person and I don’t want to take any risks. My daughter also came with me to get vaccinated today,” she said.
In the near future, the health post will house an immunization hub, staffed by a vaccinator from the Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, who will provide routine immunization services to the local community.
“We are deeply thankful to our generous donors and the local authorities for supporting this health post,” added Anam Ali. “Together, we are helping Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host community members to safeguard their health.”