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PRESS RELEASE: Rohingya becoming more at risk during latest wave of COVID-19 in South Asia

Learn more about the devastating impact of COVID-19 in areas of South Asia, such as in Rohingya Camps in Bangladesh.


COVID-19 has been spreading widely and causing devastation in South Asian countries, such as India where the total number of cases and deaths are now at 18.38 million and 204,832, respectively


“Thursday marked another grim record high with 379,257 new infections and 3,645 deaths in the previous 24 hours,” Al Jazeera reports of the situation in India.


But, it isn’t just India in South Asia that is grappling with a deadly and dangerous spike in coronavirus cases. Other countries in South Asia, such as Bangladesh are also reporting an increase in reported cases.


As of April 29, 2021, there have been 77 additional cases from Cox's Bazar district including 17 cases from FDMN/Rohingya Refugees who tested positive for COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, according to the IEDCR Field Lab, Civil Surgeon Office, and the WHO Sub Office. Humanity Auxilium’s local partners also know that, since there is little COVID-19 testing in the camps, the number is likely much higher.


“I'm saddened to hear this morning about the rapid rise of #COVID19 cases in the largest refugee camps of the world in #Rohingya camps in Bangladesh," - Dr. Fozia Alvi, Humanity Auxilium founder.

One of Humanity Auxilium’s partners on the ground, Bora Tümer, from the Turkish Red Crescent Bangladesh Delegation, recently told us on April 20, “Alarmingly, the situation of COVID-19 in Bangladesh has been deteriorating over the last few weeks.”


He shared: “The number of confirmed cases reached 23.36 per 100 tests on this Friday in Bangladesh crossing the documented death toll 100-mark for the first time, and the upward trend has continued in the country since then. The positivity rate in Rohingya camps also suddenly increased from 1.3% to 2.3% last week, in addition, four of our colleagues working at the health facilities tested positive last week. (Today's ratio is 4,5% in camps)”


The situation is becoming direr. The Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh are at risk of COVID-19 because of close quarters, poor and unsanitary conditions, and the lack of knowledge and resources to help combat and mitigate the spread of the deadly virus — especially during this most recent wave, which also involves a surge of harmful variants.


“Bangladesh is a poor country and can't handle the spread of this virus. Prayers for India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Rohingya,” says Dr. Alvi, adding she decided to launch COVID-19 Outreach Teams in Rohingya refugee camps earlier in the pandemic to support the medical infrastructure that already exists there.


So far, Humanity Auxilium’s COVID-19 Outreach Project has been effective over the past year in combating the virus. The teams have played a pivotal role in protecting refugees during the spread of COVID-19, identifying possible positive patients, and educating the Rohingya community in their own language about how to mitigate the virus’s spread.


The refugees not only received a visit by outreach teams but had numerous checkups. The follow-up, under the supervision of medical staff — a crucially important reason why the project is effective — eliminated the need to visit formal health facilities. During the reporting period of September to December 2020, about 2,500 patients received follow-up care by outreach teams. More than 1,000 awareness sessions had been undertaken in the camps.


But, it’s obvious that after all this time it is still needed.


“We're reminded of the ever-changing nature of the healthcare system in these camps. We have recognized the importance of providing safe and effective medical care, screening, and the positive effects of education and reliability for building trust,” says Alvi.


So far, nearly 25,000 people — all likely COVID-19 infected, as teams are only treating patients with symptoms — have benefitted from the project.

Together, we need to step up and help our global community during this difficult time. Please donate and support our COVID-19 Outreach Project in order to keep this important work going to protect and care for Rohingya refugees during this difficult time.


To learn more about our efforts and to donate, please visit HERE.

DATA

Host population

Cumulative (last 24 Hrs)

Tested: 79,973 (342)

Confirmed: 7,616 (60)

Death: 86 (0)

In Isolation: 1,092 (60)

Recovered: 6,438 (50)

In Quarantine: 3,158 (118)

Total current Isolation + Treatment bed occupied (capacity): 111 (454)


FDMN/Rohingya Refugees

Cumulative (last 24 Hrs)

Tested: 38,200 (183)

Confirmed: 552 (17)

Death: 11 (0)

In Isolation: 81 (17)

Recovered: 460 (8)

In Quarantine: 2,070 (14)

Total current SARI ITC bed occupied (capacity): 142 (497)

Total current Quarantine occupied (capacity): 53 (1,075)


Source: Cox’s Bazar - IEDCR Field Lab, Civil Surgeon Office, and WHO Sub Office.


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