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MSF in Bangladesh, 2002
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Programs continue in conflict zone and refugee camp
The year 2002 marks the tenth anniversary of the flight of some 250,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to Bangladesh. Though many have been repatriated, more than 20,000 continue to live in refugee camps, where MSF works to meet their medical needs. In April 2002, MSF issued a report on the unacceptable conditions in the camps and organized a conference in Dhaka to discuss possible solutions.
Malnutrition is a persistent problem for the Rohingya refugees at Nayapara camp in Cox's Bazaar. MSF provides nutritional monitoring, and supplementary and therapeutic feeding for women and children under ten, who make up more than 60% of the refugee population. Other services include in- and outpatient care, reproductive health care, and health and hygiene education. MSF also trains refugees as volunteer health workers.
Since 1999, MSF has run two primary healthcare clinics with a laboratory in Khagrachari district in the conflictridden Chittagong Hill Tracts, where health care is basically non-existent. The clinics treat common diseases and offer vaccinations, reproductive health care, and health and hygiene education.
Malaria is a major health concern in this part of the country. The malaria drugs in use do not seem to be effective, but alternative treatment is not allowed. MSF is negotiating with the health authorities for permission to do a sensitivity study to prove the effectiveness of the newer treatments currently advocated by international experts.
MSF has been in Bangladesh since 1992.