Representatives of government and donor agencies working with Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar at a meeting stressed on the need for reforms in national policy to meet requirements in delivering proper healthcare service in the refugee camps. The Rohingyas coming from Myanmar are quite conservative and less educated which hinder proper sexual and reproductive health care service, they told a “Stakeholders’ meeting on SRHR and Gender” jointly organized by UNFPA and PSTC at Sayeman Beach Resort on 12 December. Besides representatives from the local administration, various international development agencies and local NGOs, the Dutch Ambassador Ms Leoni M Cuelenaere, First Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netrherlands Dr. Annie Vestjens, visiting official of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ms. Angelique van der Made, Population Council country director Dr. Ubaidur Rob and EKN senior advisor Ms. Mushfiqua Z Satia were present at the meeting. More than 700,000 Rohingyas have taken refuge in the makeshift camps on the hills of Ukhiya and Teknaf upazilas of Cox’s Bazar district since August 25, 2017. Healthcare service and overall security major issues in Rohingya camps. Additional Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Ashraf Hossain said the government has been able to smoothen the relief distribution system. He said the government was worried about environmental degradation and the state security. “It is very easy to misuse them (Rohingyas) because they are less educated,” he warned. In his opening remarks UNFPA’s Senior Emergency Coordinator Mr. Coquelin Bernard said considering the speed and magnitude of the Rohingya crisis the needs remain staggering and the funds received are far from adequate. Unicef’s Dr. Nada Hamza informed that nearly 300,000 women in the camps are of reproductive age while 60,000 were now pregnant. Lack of access to water and latrines are putting pregnant mothers at risk. She mentioned the shortcomings of the present referral guidelines and informed that the nearest hospital facilities are at least one hour away if ambulance is available. Dr. Mahbubul Alam of Population Services and Training Center (PSTC) detailed PSTC’s health camp activities in Balukhali and Kutupalong. SANJOG PAGE December 2017 \ 11 Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital’s Resident Medical Officer Shaheen Abdur Rahman informed that patients with various diseases including Hepatitis-E virus are reporting to the hospital. Pointing at the 0.8 per cent prevalence HIV infection in Myanmar, he informed that already 109 new HIV positive cases have been reported among the Rohingya patients. Population Council Country Director Dr. Ubaidur Rob in his deliberation highlighted the importance of having birth attendants and distribution of contraceptives including condoms in the camps. Upazila Nirbahi Officer Mohammad Noman Hossain said measures should be taken to stop child marriage in the camps while facilities for pregnant mothers should be increased. Issues of midwives and temporary birth attendants, and increasing manpower in government facilities if possible with support from development partners also came up during the discussion. Some of the speakers raised the issue of security in the camps and stressed on intensifying vigilance to check women trafficking and gender-based violence. PSTC Executive Director Dr. Noor Mohammad moderated the meeting also attended by Assistant Superintendant of Police Saiful Alam Bhuiyan, UNFPA officials Saba Zariv and Fatema Sultana, Upazila Family Planning Officer Syed Ahmed, Women and Children Affairs official Subrata Biswas, and local government officials including Shaheed Abdur Rahman Chowdhury, Shah Alam and Mohammad Siraj.
Visiting President of Population Council Ms. Julia Bunting visited Cox’s Bazar on 6 and 7 May, 2018 to see for herself the activities and the condition at the Rohingya camps. Population Council’s Country Director Dr. Ubaidur Rob, PSTC Executive Director Dr. Noor Mohammad, PSTC’s Head of Program and SANGJOG Team leader Julia Bunting visits Rohingya camp sangjog page May 2018 \ 9 Dr. Mahbubul Alam were among others present on the occasion. On the first day of her visit, Julia Bunting witnessed PSTC-SANGJOG field activities through attending a courtyard session with transport workers at the Cox’s Bazar truck stand. She later also saw a peer session with floating sex workers at the PSTC field office. She inquired the participants whether they are being benefitted with the SRHR information. The next morning on 7 May, 2018, the visiting dignitary went on a visit to the Rohingya camps in Balukhali Ukhiya of Cox’s Bazar. There she witnessed the activities of PSTC at the Emergency Health Camp where she talked with the staff members and the Rohingyas who came for treatment. She also witnessed the activities of some other organizations including the Children Friendly Centre of Unicef and wased Friendly space of UNFPA.