Bangladesh + 1 more

Rohingya: fighting against malnutrition to save lives

In Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees are living in very difficult conditions. Families do not have access to sufficient food. At the camp, our staff has opened two nutrition centres which are supervised by a doctor so that children suffering from malnutrition can be treated. Three others should open soon. At the centres, children receive high-protein food made from milk and peanut paste which quickly makes them feel better. Ivana Goretta, press attaché at Terre des hommes visited the site and shares her experiences here through photos.

“Yasmina is 4 and a half years old and is the youngest of 5 children. She says “this tastes good” to me. Her mother is relieved, this is the first time she has seen her eat for days. She heard about our centre from her community’s chief. Every morning, mothers queue up in front of the door so that their children can be treated. Once they are inside the centre we keep them for at least half an hour to be certain that their appetite comes back. A few moments later, Yasmina and her mother leave again with the 32 sachets* necessary for treating her.

Chuwaira is two years old. She is suffering from severe malnutrition. It is a relief to see her enthusiastically eating the sachet which has been given to her by Tdh’s medical team. Her big sister, 8-year old Rugada is taking good care of her and she is sitting on her lap. Chuwaira treats us to a beaming smile before leaving the centre.

In Cox’s Bazar, we train volunteers so that they can identify cases of malnutrition among children. They are Rohingya who themselves live at the camp and work alongside us. They take their responsibilities seriously and with good humour, and they can reassure families in their own languages, something which is very important.

If they are very sick, some children leave the centre with antibiotics. A Rohingya volunteer trained by Tdh carefully explains to parents how to give the medication to their children and how long the treatment lasts.

With the excellent support of the Rohingya who are living there, we are in the process of building a third nutrition centre at the Cox’s Bazar camp. More should then follow, which will allow us to greatly increase our capacity to treat malnourished children.”

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*One sachet costs 300 DBT, Bangladeshi currency, which is equivalent to 3.60 CHF.