New Delhi: The WHO has released its first tranche of emergency funding of $175,000 to provide lifesaving healthcare to the "vulnerable population" in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar, a statement said on Tuesday.
Though the World Health Organisation (WHO) did not specifically mention the Rohingya refugees, over 410,000 of them have arrived in Cox's Bazar since August 25 after escaping Myanmar's military crackdown.
"Vulnerable populations require access to health services, including emergency and basic health care. Access for women to reproductive health services is especially important. The Ministry of Health's mobile medical teams will help deliver those services amid a highly challenging situation," said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Regional Director for WHO South-East Asia. The WHO South-East Asia Regional Health Emergency Fund (SEARHEF) grant of $175,000 will support 20 mobile medical teams to provide essential services for at least two months. The grant is also being used to procure essential medicines and medical supplies to be distributed to pre-existing health facilities in Cox's Bazar area. Over 380,000 of them have gathered in makeshift or spontaneous settlements. Poor nutrition, communicable diseases (including vaccine-preventable and water-borne diseases), injuries and other concerns such as mental health provide immense public health challenges that Ministry of Health, Bangladesh, WHO and other health partners are working to address. Singh said mass immunization is also being done, which is a powerful way to keep vulnerable communities safe from communicable diseases due to overcrowding and inadequate access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene. "By carrying out this campaign so rapidly, the Ministry of Health has taken a critical step in defending the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children," she added.