Health Desk—January 31, 2018: More than 100,000 Rohingya refugees huddled in squalid, muddy camps in Bangladesh will be in grave danger from landslides when the mid-year monsoon season begins, a UN humanitarian report said.
There are now more than 900,000 Rohingyas in the Cox's Bazar area of Bangladesh, after 688,000 fled violence in Myanmar that flared up in late August. Aid workers say the camps sheltering the new arrivals are completely inadequate.
Although a rapid vaccination programme appears to have staved off the risk of cholera, 4,865 have confirmed, probable or suspected diphtheria, and 35 have died.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has vaccinated over 500,000 Rohingyas against diphtheria and on Saturday health workers began giving 350,000 children a second dose. The WHO also has 2,500 doses of anti-toxin, which is in short supply globally, to treat the deadly effects of the disease.
The UN report said there had been an increase in cases in the past few weeks, and Rohingya refugees and host communities had never been vaccinated against the highly contagious disease, which is rarely fatal but can cause complications such as meningitis.
Courtesy: Reuters, Geneva