Medical Negligence takes its toll in Rohingya Refugee Camps
By The Stateless Rohingya
Kutupalong: Kutupalong and Nayapara, the two registered camps in Bangladesh accommodate more than 32,000 Rohingya refugees who fled Burma (now known as Myanmar) during the ethnic cleansing programme – “Operation Clean Nation” in 1992 when more than 250,000 Rohingya sneaked through the border from the programme.
In February 1992, the refugees in both camps were registered and recognized under the agreement between Bangladesh and UNHCR. Despite the camps are heavily funded by UNHCR in association with the host country, there is an increase in the negligence of medical care towards the Rohingya refugees.
Over 20 years, the collaboration has provided the basic medical treatments for the residences of the camps from healthcare promotions particularly maternal and reproductive care, to common medical conditions such as flu-like illnesses, vector-borne illnesses and communicable illnesses.
However, the negligence of the medical care is slowly taking its toll over the residences. Medical neglects among the healthcare providers inside the camps are extremely endemic as a result of lack of medical surveillance and monitoring by UNHCR and the government of Bangladesh. The lack of accountability is, at the same time, fuelling to continue the endemic spread of medical negligence.
Mohammed Tahir, one month old infant boy, son of Rahim Ullah and Noor Begum (who live Shed 31, Block F) could have been saved if his condition was taken critically. He was born on 3rd of November and died on 1st of December 2015.
Mohammed Tahir was brought to Outpatient Department run by RRRC (Rohingya Refugee Repatriation Commission) in Kutupalong Camp with constipation, from where he was returned back to the shed, reassuring that it was normal in the first few days of newborn life.
He was sent back twice with the same reasons over his first month of life although his parents bought and used the medicine prescribed by the centre. Yesterday (December 1), he was referred to Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital as the condition became critical, where he was admitted with the help person overseeing refugee medical cases in the hospital.
Even thought his parents bought again the prescribed medicine for the hospital treatment, he was given injection with the half-leftover from another infant died inside the same treatment room. The parents of Mohammed Tahir was abused by the doctors and nurses when they accused them of killing their child. The staffs seized their original prescription letter and the medicine bought by the parents, and threatened not to mourn inside the hospital and told “to cry at Refugee camp”.
The patients are required to buy their own medications despite it is fully funded by several NGOs, the governmental organization and UNHCR. The patients are frequently turned away with excuses of being normal or fine. The patients are commonly abused and refused to treat adequately and respectfully in the referred hospital. The majority of patients in the camp healthcare centre receives only “Paracetamol” for almost every medical condition while it is funded to make all other medications available in the centre.
Although there are specialized guidelines, objectives and targets of healthcare for the Rohingya refugees, the increase in accidence of medical neglects, and abuses of medical funds, utilities and medications in the camps raises serious questions to review the healthcare extensively.