150,000 Rohingya children in Bangladesh to be vaccinated amid threat of disease outbreak

 

150,000 Rohingya children in Bangladesh to be vaccinated amid threat of disease outbreak

On 6 September 2017, a mother and child who are newly arrived Rohingya refugees from Myanmar walk through paddy fields and flooded land after they fled over the border into Cox's Bazar district, Chittagong Division in Bangladesh.

By 5 September 2017, more than 146,000 Rohingya refugees fled across the border from Rakhine State, Myanmar, into Cox's Bazar district, Chittagong Division in Bangladesh since 25 August. As many as 80 per cent of the new arrivals are women and children. More than 70 000 children need urgent humanitarian assistance. More than 100,000 of the newly arrived refugees are currently residing in makeshift settlements and official refugee camps that are extremely overcrowded while 10,000 newly arrived refugees are in host communities. In addition, 33,000 arrivals are in new spontaneous sites, which are quickly expanding.  While some refugees are making their own shelters, the majority of people are staying in the open, suffering from exhaustion, sickness and hunger. Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh is one of the most vulnerable districts, not only for its poor performance in child related indicators but also for its vulnerability to natural hazards.  Most people walked 50 or 60 kilometers for up to six days and are in dire need of food, water and protection. Many children are suffering from cold fever as they are drenched in rain and lack additional clothes. Children and adolescents, especially girls, are vulnerable to trafficking as different child trafficking groups are active in the region. Many more children in need of support and protection remain in the areas of northern Rakhine State that have been wracked by violence.

In Bangladesh, UNICEF is scaling up its response to provide refugee children with protection, nutrition, health, water and sanitation support. With the recent influx of refugees, demand has increased and UNICEF is working to mobilize more support and strengthen its existing activities. For recreational and psychosocial

© UNICEF/UN0119953/Brown

On 6 September 2017, a mother and child who are newly arrived Rohingya refugees from Myanmar walk through paddy fields and flooded land after they fled over the border into Cox’s Bazar district, Chittagong Division in Bangladesh.

Measles, rubella and polio vaccination campaign kicks off in refugee settlements.

COX’S BAZAR/HONG KONG, 17 September 2017 – A vaccination campaign against measles, rubella and polio is underway to immunize 150,000 Rohingya children below the age of 15 in 68 refugee settlements close to the border with Myanmar.

The seven-day campaign is led by the Ministry of Health with support from UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO). UNICEF is supporting the Ministry of Health by providing the vaccines, syringes and vitamin A capsules.  WHO planned the immunization campaign and is managing and monitoring its field implementation to ensure every child is being reached.

More than 410,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived to Bangladesh since August 25, and thousands more are arriving every day. Children account for 60 per cent of all refugees, according to preliminary estimates.

“We are happy that we were able to initiate the immunization campaign so quickly to protect the population from a possible measles outbreak” said Navaratnasamy Paranietharan, WHO Representative to Bangladesh. “We are all working together under the leadership of the Ministry of Health. This is what allowed us to implement this campaign so rapidly.”

“Measles is a very infectious and dangerous disease during emergencies, especially for children who are already weak and malnourished,” said Edouard Beigbeder, UNICEF’s Representative in Bangladesh. “With thousands of children crossing the border every day, vaccination is crucial to prevent the spread of potentially deadly diseases.”

With the growing number of Rohingya refugees UNICEF and WHO are scaling up their health and nutrition services as follow:

– Assisting the Ministry of Health to strengthen routine immunization programme.

– Support the Ministry to expand the number of doctors, nurses, lab technicians to reinforce maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services.

– Renovating the delivery and special new-born care units, antenatal and postnatal care corners, and adolescent corners.

– Improving water, sanitation and hygiene in health facilities.

– Strengthen health coordination for a better response at the field level.

– Strengthen early warning system and surveillance for outbreak prone diseases.

– Strengthening health data through supporting Health Management Information System.

UNICEF will also be sending additional health and nutrition supplies from Dhaka and from its supply hub in Copenhagen. WHO is awaiting supplies from international procurement.

UNICEF will need at least HK$56.9 million for the next three months, but additional funds will be necessary as the refugee population continues to grow.