Back in April, 2018, Community Partners International (CPI) began training a network of Rohingya Community Health Volunteers (CHVs) embedded in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to provide first response services to their communities. Since then, the CHVs have responded to 75 requests for urgent assistance.
The CHVs already provide the first line of health care for refugees in their neighborhoods - educating households on how to stay healthy, helping them to understand the health services available, distributing health and hygiene supplies, monitoring health and referring those in need of further care. In this additional role, they are ready to respond day or night to emergencies, whether due to health issues, injuries, flooding or landslides. They are equipped with stretchers and other equipment to rescue patients and safely and quickly transport those who are unable to walk to an appropriate health facility to receive medical care. They are linked with a CPI-supported ambulance service for patients that need to be referred urgently to hospital outside of the camps.
Between May and July 2018, in their first three months providing first response service, the CHVs responded to 75 callouts for urgent assistance in Kutupalong (Camp 1W), Hakimpara (Camp 14), Jamtoli Camp (15), and Potibonia (Camp 16) camps. The reason for the call-outs varied widely, from injuries to lacerations, women going into labor and patients in pain. Of these 75 cases, 12 were children under five years of age, and a further 10 were children between the age of 5 and 12. Fifteen patients were assisted to reach a health facility for urgent care, and a further 11 patients were referred as non-urgent cases at a later date. The remaining 49 cases were assessed but determined not to be in need of further referral, with basic first provided for minor injuries.
To prepare the CHVs to provide these lifesaving services, CPI has conducted basic 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 CHVs have also learned how to lift patients safely, take precautions to ensure spinal protection, correctly use stretchers, and practice different types of drags and carries to safely move patients during emergencies.
CPI will continue to support the Rohingya CHV network to provide lifesaving first response services to their communities in Cox’s Bazar.