Highlighting Critical Care for Rohingya Communities on World Refugee Day

This week the UN released their annual report on the current state of refugees in the world. In 2017, 68.5 million people were forcibly displaced, 25.4 million of whom are refugees — people forced to flee to neighboring countries to escape persecution and violence.

In places experiencing humanitarian crises, rates of violence against women and girls are much higher, and health conditions worsen. At the same time, about ten percent of women and girls in any refugee population are pregnant. It is therefore not surprising that approximately 61 percent of maternal deaths take place in fragile states and areas experiencing humanitarian crises.

Samira Begum, a pregnant Rohingya Refugee in Cox’s Bazar. (Photo: Josh Estey)

Approximately 720,000 of the world’s current refugees are Rohingya Muslims who fled to Bangladesh to escape ethnic cleansing by the Myanmar government in 2017. The majority landed in Cox’s Bazar in the southwest region of Bangladesh where our partner, the HOPE Foundation for Women and Children in Bangladesh, is located. A vast proportion of these refugees are infants, children, and pregnant women.

Since 2017, Every Mother Counts has given the HOPE Foundation $47,000 to help them respond to this crisis. The HOPE Foundation is providing quality skilled care and transport to pregnant women in the Kutupalong refugee camp (now the largest refugee settlement in the world) and the surrounding areas. In advance of anticipated destruction resulting from upcoming monsoon rains, we are also supporting the HOPE Foundation to train and equip emergency preparedness teams of who can act immediately to provide medical treatment, referrals, and evacuation. They are working in concert with the Bangladesh government and multilateral actors to help improve the situation for Rohingya refugees while their governments work to negotiate a return to their country. Still, the road for Rohingyas will in all likelihood be long and challenging. Non-governmental organizations like the HOPE Foundation and United Nations agencies on the ground are doing their best to provide much-needed relief and critical healthcare to the women, children, and families who most need it.

Learn more about the HOPE Foundation and other work that Every Mother Counts supports at everymothercounts.org.

Topics: Maternal Health, Pregnancy, Refugees