Dhaka, Bangladesh
Dhaka seeks OIC support for Rohingya health service

Dhaka seeks OIC support for Rohingya health service

Bangladesh has called upon the OIC member states to come forward and provide emergency health services to Rohingyas who entered Bangladesh since August 25, reports UNB. Bangladesh made the call at a meeting in Jeddah on Wednesday, according to Bangladesh Embassy in Riyadh. A delegation of Bangladesh Health Ministry and Bangladesh Mission represented Bangladesh in the meeting. The Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) is holding the 6th Session of the Islamic Conference of Health Ministers in the Member States, being hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Jeddah on December 5-7 under the theme "Health in All Policies". The Conference is discussing the OIC Strategic Health Plan of Action: 2014-2023 and the promotion of cooperation, healthy lifestyle, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, health emergencies and disaster situations. The ministers will also discuss the issue of mother and child health and nutrition, self-reliance in the provision and production of medicines, vaccines and medical technology, as well as the health conditions in occupied Palestine, including East Jerusalem and the occupied Syrian Golan, according to the OIC. Regarding the implementation of the Strategic Plan of Action, the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) will present a report on health in the OIC Member States. Also, the Chairman of the Islamic Advisory Group on Polio Eradication will review a status report on the activities of the Group. The Chairman of the OIC Group of Vaccine Manufacturers will present a case report on self-reliance in this area. The Conference will adopt the terms of reference of the Lead Country Coordinators groups and the Steering Committee on Health in the OIC Member States. Bdnews24.com adds: Diphtheria, eliminated from Bangladesh decades ago, has broken out among the Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar refugee camps. Officials have told bdnews24.com that they started treatment based on the 'clinical symptoms' as the government's disease monitoring arm, IEDCR, has sent its team to the district. Over 600,000 Myanmar nationals took shelter after the latest violence in Rakhine State started on Aug 25. They do not have access to basic healthcare services in the state as Burmese authorities deny them citizenship. "So far 70 patients have received treatment," Sirajul Haque Khan, the chief coordinator of the Forcibly Displaced Myanmar Nationals Health Intervention Centre in Bangladesh, told bdnews24.com. Khan, the immediate past health secretary, said they had devised plans to stop the transmission. An official at a refugee camp in Cox's Bazar said of the clinically confirmed cases, at least five died. The bacterial disease, diphtheria, is highly infectious. It can pass on from person to person through respiratory droplets such as coughing and sneezing. It can be treated and prevented by vaccine. Symptoms include a thick covering in the back of the throat. It can lead to difficulty in breathing, heart failure, paralysis, and even death. IEDCR Director Prof Meerjady Sabrina Flora told bdnews24.com they would confirm those clinically confirmed cases in the laboratory. "But we have taken the preventive and treatment- related measures based on the clinical confirmation," she said. One of the coordinators of the Centre, Dr Mushtaq Hossain told bdnews24.com that WHO, UNICEF, MSF, IEDCR and the health ministry were working together to address the issue. "We will go for mass vaccination," he said. Bangladesh has eliminated the disease through vaccination. Children get the vaccine in the first year of their birth. But the new cases in Rohingya camps appear as a challenge as it can spread to local Bangladeshis. New doctors are not even familiar with the disease. Khan, the chief coordinator, acknowledged the challenge and said the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) diagnosed those cases and was treating the patients at their field hospital. He said the government had taken three-pronged measures - assessment of the number of affected people, management of those who are already affected, and prevention through vaccination so that new cases do not occur. "This disease is eliminated from Bangladesh. So I was told that many of our doctors are not familiar with the signs and symptoms. So it's a new challenge." He said they were planning to open an isolation centre at Ukhia Upazilla Health Centre, if the number goes up. Bangladesh earlier implemented mass vaccination for cholera, polio and measles in the Rohingya camps and among the local communities in that area.

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