Health Risk Factors and Refugee Children in Bangladesh
A Study on Rohingya at Kutupalong Camps
In the Cox's Bazar refugee camps, around 855,000 Rohingya people live, with 54 percent of them being children. In Myanmar, these children were denied access to adequate healthcare, immunizations, food & nutrition, hygiene, and education. Since August 2017, when the Rohingya were forced to flee from Myanmar to Bangladesh due to the Myanmar military's brutality, they have become more vulnerable. Children were vulnerable to hunger and various infectious diseases as a result of the fighting and displacement, which posed serious health hazards. The numerous health risk factors of the children were analyzed in this study in order to provide a picture of the refugee camp.
Method: In December 2017, a questionnaire was used to assess the shelter and camp environment, food and nutrition, WASH knowledge and practice, vaccination and immunisation, medication and supplements, and education of 120 parents of Kutupalong camp no 4, OO zone.
Result: The health of 29% of the children was better than a year before, while 68 percent of the children had the same result as the previous year. Breakfast and supper were consumed by 96.67 percent of the children, and 80.8 percent were fed three times lunch and supper, with 63 percent agreeing that the camp setting was not ideal for their growth. 61 percent of families could provide enough water for their children using the water containers provided by various NGOs (Non-governmental Organisations). Despite the fact that the water sources are not close to their homes, 98.3 percent of families use tube well water. Only 49.2 percent of parents said the latrines had enough water for bathing and cleaning, while 29.2 percent said they had adequate lighting and were in their suitable placements. After using the restroom, 66.7 percent of children used soap, 16.7% used soil or ashes, and the rest used nothing. Vaccinations had been given to 91.7 percent of Rohingya children. In Bangladeshi refugee camps, 56.2 percent of Rohingya children were educated by learning centers run by various NGOs and Maktabs (Muslim kids were taught Quran in masjids).
Limitations: This report has relatively limited data that does not provide a comprehensive picture of the children's camp situation.
Conclusion: Based on the findings of the study, the camp's status may be improved if the children and their families were given good WASH knowledge and introduced to the WASH awareness programme, proper water supply and sanitation, and health care as needed.
Keywords:Rohingya children, health risks, WASH, nutrition, vacine
Mohajan H. History of Rakhine State and the origin of the Rohingya Muslims. 2018.
Joarder T, Sutradhar I, Hasan MI, Bulbul MMI. A record review on the health status of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Cureus. 2020;12(8).
Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh: Facts, FAQs, and How to Help. [press release]. Online 27 August 2020 2020.
Rahman MR, Faiz MA, Nu MY, Hassan MR, Chakrabarty AK, Kabir I, et al. A rapid assessment of health literacy and health status of Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh following the August 2017 exodus from Myanmar: a cross-sectional study. Tropical Medicine and Infectious Disease. 2020;5(3):110.
Bhatia A, Mahmud A, Fuller A, Shin R, Rahman A, Shatil T, et al. The Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar: when the stateless seek refuge. Health and human rights. 2018;20(2):105.
The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Operational update: Bangladesh (27 December 2017–7 January 2018). [Internet]. 2018 [cited Jan 15, 2018]. Available from: https://data2.unhcr.org/en/documents/download/61561
Alam N, Kenny B, Maguire J, McEwen S, Sheel M, Tolosa M. Field epidemiology in action: an Australian perspective of epidemic response to the Rohingya health emergencies in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Global Biosecurity. 2019;1(1).
(WHO) WHO. Rohingya crisis in Cox's Bazar district, Bangladesh: Health Sector Bulletin. . 2018 24 September 2018.
Chan EYC, Cheuk Pong; Chan, Gloria KW, . Medical and health risks associated with communicable diseases of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh 2017. International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 2018;68:39-43.
“Caged without a roof”. Apartheid in Myanmar’s Rakhine state, [Internet]. 2017 [cited May 2018]. Available from: https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/ASA1674842017ENGLISH.PDF.
Frontières MS. No one was left: death and violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine state, Myanmar. 2018.
Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). Bangladesh. 2020 Joint Response Plan for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis. Online ISCG; 2020 27 August 2020.
Das Gupta S, Zaman MS, Begum K. Rohingya children in Bangladesh: Safeguarding their health-related rights in relation to the available healthcare system. 2020.
Zaman KT, Hasan WU, Bazlul L, Motahar T, Ahmed N, editors. Exploring challenges and solution approaches regarding wellbeing of Female Rohingya Community in Bangladesh. TENCON 2019-2019 IEEE Region 10 Conference (TENCON); 2019: IEEE.
Pocock NS, Mahmood SS, Zimmerman C, Orcutt M. Imminent health crises among the Rohingya people of Myanmar. British Medical Journal Publishing Group; 2017.
Summers A, Humphreys A, Leidman E, Van Mil LT, Wilkinson C, Narayan A, et al. Notes from the field: diarrhea and acute respiratory infection, oral cholera vaccination coverage, and care-seeking behaviors of Rohingya refugees—Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, October–November 2017. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2018;67(18):533.
Niswar M, Ilham AA, Palantei E, Sadjad RS, Ahmad A, Suyuti A, et al., editors. Performance evaluation of ZigBee-based wireless sensor network for monitoring patients' pulse status. 2013 international conference on information technology and electrical engineering (ICITEE); 2013: IEEE.
Chan EYY. Public health humanitarian responses to natural disasters. 2017.
Mahmud T, Chaity A. World AIDS Day: Rohingya influx triggers fears of disease spreading. Dhaka Tribune 2017. 2017.
Hossain MM, Sultana A, Mazumder H. Sexually transmitted infections among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. The Lancet HIV. 2018;5(7):e342.
Al Gasseer N, Dresden E, Keeney GB, Warren N. Status of women and infants in complex humanitarian emergencies. Journal of midwifery & women's health. 2004;49(4):7-13.
Rohingya emergency - UNHCR [press release]. Online UNHCR, Asia Pacific 2019.
Haar RJ, Wang K, Venters H, Salonen S, Patel R, Nelson T, et al. Documentation of human rights abuses among Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. Conflict and health. 2019;13(1):1-14.
Bangladesh refugee emergency population factsheet. [press release]. Online July 31, 2019. 2019.
Mahmud F. For the Rohingya in Bangladesh’s refugee camps: Living is surviving. The Wire. 2017.
Karin S. Status of Rohingya in Refugee Camps of Bangladesh: A Review Study. Open Access Library Journal. 2020;7(09):1.
Islam MM, Nuzhath T. Health risks of Rohingya refugee population in Bangladesh: a call for global attention. Journal of global health. 2018;8(2).
UNICEF. Outcast and Desperate: Rohingya refugee children face a perilous future. Online; 2017.
Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). WASH Sector Cox's Bazar Situation Report, 31 December 2017. Online 2017 31 Dec 2017.
Akhter M, Uddin SMN, Rafa N, Hridi SM, Staddon C, Powell W. Drinking water security challenges in rohingya refugee camps of cox’s bazar, Bangladesh. Sustainability. 2020;12(18):7325.
Half a Million Rohingya Refugee Children at Risk in Overcrowded Camps in Bangladesh with Cyclone and Monsoon Season on Horizon: Overcrowding in refugee camps could lead to devastating disease outbreaks, displacement and death [press release]. Online, 16 January 2018: UNICEF, South Asia 2018.
Rahman MR. Rohingya Crisis–Health issues. Delta Medical College Journal. 2018;6(1):1-3.
International Rescue Committee (IRC). Public health crisis underway in Cox’s Bazar as Rohingya children face tenfold increase in malnutrition. 2017 10 Nov 2017.
Milton AH, Rahman M, Hussain S, Jindal C, Choudhury S, Akter S, et al. Trapped in statelessness: Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2017;14(8):942.
International Organization for Migration (IOM). Situation Report: Rohingya Refugee, Crisis Cox’s Bazar; 2017d. . Online 2017 28 November, 2017.
International Organization for Migration (IOM). Situation Report: Rohingya Refugee, Crisis Cox’s Bazar; 2017b. . Online 2017 28 November 2017.
OCHA I, ISCG, UN, RC Bangladesh. 2019 Joint Response Plan for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis (January-December) [EN/BN]. Online; 2019 15 Feb 2019.
Ahmed B, Orcutt M, Sammonds P, Burns R, Issa R, Abubakar I, et al. Humanitarian disaster for Rohingya refugees: impending natural hazards and worsening public health crises. The Lancet Global Health. 2018;6(5):e487-e8.
Hsan K, Naher S, Griffiths MD, Shamol HH, Rahman MA. Factors associated with the practice of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) among the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development. 2019;9(4):794-800.
Cousins S. Rohingya threatened by infectious diseases. The Lancet Infectious diseases. 2018;18(6):609-10.
Hsan K, Naher S, Siddique MRF. Chickenpox outbreak among Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh: strategies for prevention and control. J Epidemiol Glob Health. 2019;10.
The Rohingya Crisis: A Health Situation Analysis of Refugee Camps in Bangladesh. [press release]. 27 August 2020 2020.
Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). Bangladesh. 2018 Joint Response Plan for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis March–December 2018. . 2020 27 August 2020.
Impacts of Rohingya Refugee Influx on Host Communities. [press release]. Online 27 August 2020 2020.
Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). Bangladesh. COVID-19: Preparedness and Response for the Rohingya Refugee Camps and Host Communities in Cox’s Bazar District. . 2020 27 August 2020.
UNDP. Rapid Assessment of the Impact of Syrian Refugee Influx on the Environment in Jordan. . Online 2020.
Tom Allard RP. Risks grow for Rohingya in Bangladesh's teeming, squalid camps. Reuters 2017 DECEMBER 4, 2017.
World Health Organization (WHO). Mortality and Morbidity Weekly Bulletin (MMWB): Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, 2017a. Online; 2017 19 November 2017.
AUW OaU. HEAL in WASH: Towards a Roadmap, Project Report, Humanitarian Empowerment through Active Learning (HEAL) in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; . Asian University for Women: Chittagong, Bangladesh; 2020.
UN-Women. U. Report on Environmental Impact of Rohingya Influx. Online 2020 27 August 2020.
You J, Staddon C, Cook A, Walker J, Boulton J, Powell W, et al. Multidimensional benefits of improved sanitation: Evaluating ‘PEE POWER®’in Kisoro, Uganda. International journal of environmental research and public health. 2020;17(7):2175.
UNHCR & REACH. WASH Assessment of Syrian Refugee Households in Akkar Governorate, Lebanon,. Beirut; 2014.
UNICEF A, JEN, Oxfam, . WASH Sector Knowledge, Attitude and Practices Survey in Za’atari Refugee Camp. Online 2014 14 Mar 2014.
Kuruvilla S, Bustreo F, Kuo T, Mishra C, Taylor K, Fogstad H, et al. The Global strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health (2016–2030): a roadmap based on evidence and country experience. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. 2016;94(5):398.
Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). JRP for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis: March - December 2018. Online 2018 16 Mar 2018.
Schmitt ML, Wood OR, Clatworthy D, Rashid SF, Sommer M. Innovative strategies for providing menstruation-supportive water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities: learning from refugee camps in Cox’s bazar, Bangladesh. Conflict and Health. 2021;15(1):1-12.
Mahmood SS, Wroe E, Fuller A, Leaning J. The Rohingya people of Myanmar: health, human rights, and identity. The Lancet. 2017;389(10081):1841-50.
United Nations Children’s Fund. World’s second largest oral cholera vaccination campaign kicks off at Rohingya camps in Bangladesh; 2017a. Online 2017 21 November 2017.
United Nations Children’s Fund. Bangladesh steps up vaccination for new Rohingya arrivals as measles cases rise; 2017b. . Online 2017 21 November 2017.
Over 350,000 children to get additional dose of diphtheria vaccine in Cox’s Bazar [press release]. Online 27 January 2018 2018.
Action Against Hunger. Emergency nutrition assessment final report: Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. April 28–May 28, 2018. [press release]. Online April 15, 2019 2019.
Bangladesh: diphtheria outbreak—2017–2019. [press release]. April 15, 2019.
Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG). Bangladesh. 2019 Joint Response Plan for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis.; 2020 27 August 2020.
Doherty M, Power L, Petrova M, Gunn S, Powell R, Coghlan R, et al. Illness-related suffering and need for palliative care in Rohingya refugees and caregivers in Bangladesh: a cross-sectional study. PLoS medicine. 2020;17(3):e1003011.
Sarker M, Saha A, Matin M, Mehjabeen S, Tamim MA, Sharkey AB, et al. Effective maternal, newborn and child health programming among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh: Implementation challenges and potential solutions. PloS one. 2020;15(3):e0230732.
Shohel MMC. Education in emergencies: challenges of providing education for Rohingya children living in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Education Inquiry. 2020:1-23.
Khan NZ, Shilpi AB, Sultana R, Sarker S, Razia S, Roy B, et al. Displaced Rohingya children at high risk for mental health problems: Findings from refugee camps within Bangladesh. Child: care, health and development. 2019;45(1):28-35.
Copyright (c) 2022 Nusrat Parvin
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Any non-commercial use, distribution, adaptation, and reproduction in any medium is permitted as long as the original work is properly cited. However, caution and responsibility are required when reusing as the articles on the preprint server are not peer-reviewed. Readers are advised to check for the availability of any updated or peer-reviewed version.