The onset of sudden illness or a traumatic injury can be particularly dangerous for the 905,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar sheltering in and around Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. With populations dispersed over very large areas, often in remote and isolated locations, access to health services is limited. This is particularly the case at night, when many community clinics and other health services are closed. The arrival of the monsoon rains, and the greatly increased risk of floods and landslides, intensify the urgent need for rapidly accessible, community-based emergency health services for Rohingya refugees.
To address this challenge, Community Partners International (CPI) is teaming up with Rohingya Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) based in communities throughout Cox’s Bazar to train them in basic first aid techniques and provide ongoing support to provide first response to health emergencies. As part of this initiative, between April 22 to 24, 2018, CPI held a 3-day basic first aid workshop in Hakimpara Camp (Camp 14) for 20 CHVs.
The workshop was led by CPI volunteer Satu Salonen MD, MPH, a Family Medicine Global Health Fellow at the University of Massachusetts and health care provider at a refugee health clinic in Worcester, Massachusetts. The participating CHVs received training across a range of key first aid topics including cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), basic life support (BLS), bleeding control, wound cleaning and management, safe patient transport, basic stabilization of fractures and recognition of danger signs in pregnancy. The workshop included a lot of hands-on practice, and participants also learned how to train others in these first aid techniques.
Using a cascade training model, these CHVs will now hold an ongoing series of workshops supported by CPI in their respective base locations to train their peer CHVs in basic first aid techniques. This model will enable 160 CHVs to receive training in the coming months in Hakimpara (Camp 14), Jamtoli (Camp 15), Potibonia (Camp 16), and Kutupalong camps.
This network of CHVs will now be able to respond to first aid situations including pregnancy complications, traumatic injuries, and cardiovascular emergencies. They will also help with patient transport to health facilities by carrying patients on stretchers, calling ambulances (if available), or accompanying the ‘walking wounded’ to the nearest health facility equipped to deal with their needs.
In concert with these efforts to develop community first aid services, CPI is also supporting the operation, upgrading and training costs of ambulance services run by a local partner serving Rohingya refugee communities Cox's Bazar. These initiatives are part of CPI’s commitment to supporting the development of community-led and community-based health care services for Rohingya refugees.