Dhaka/Kuala Lumpur/Geneva, 16 October 2017 – A fully equipped field hospital opened today to provide vital health care to thousands of people from Myanmar living in dire conditions in Cox’s Bazar.
The 60-bed hospital, the size of two football fields, has three wards, an operating theater, delivery suite with maternity ward, psychosocial support, an outpatient department and an isolation unit.
“Families have spent weeks in appalling conditions since fleeing Rakhine,” said Finnish Red Cross’ Dr Pentti Haatanen, the chief medical officer at the hospital.
“We’re preparing to treat people with a whole spectrum of health issues from injuries sustained on the journey to complicated pregnancies.
“There is also a very real risk of a waterborne disease outbreak, like cholera. The hospital’s isolation unit will help us deal with this if the worst happens.”
The hospital, which is run by the Norwegian and Finnish Red Cross, will be staffed by national medical personnel, including 15 doctors and 30 midwives from the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, and a 30-strong team of international staff.
“The facility is the first fully functioning hospital near the camps,” said Mozharul Huq, Secretary-General, Bangladesh Red Crescent Society. “It will support the work of Bangladesh Red Crescent mobile medical teams and other clinics, which will now be able refer more complicated cases to the specialized hospital.”
Since 25 August, Red Cross Red Crescent mobile medical teams have treated more than 6,000 people. The hospital is situated between Kutupalong and Mainnerghona where hundreds of thousands of people are living.
More than 500,000 people are living without proper access to drinking water, enough food or a safe place to sleep, which is exacerbating health needs across camps and makeshift settlements.
The Bangladesh Red Crescent is the country’s leading humanitarian organization. It has a strong presence in Cox’s Bazar, and is working closely with the government of Bangladesh and Red Cross Red Crescent stakeholders involved in the humanitarian response, including UN agencies.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is appealing for 12.7 million Swiss francs to support the ongoing operation.