Rohingya Refugee Crisis – Update

Following our initial assessment visits in November and December 2017, our project is underway. As with any healthcare system, a vital component is to have appropriately skilled and trained doctors as well as other health care workers (namely human resources) in order to address the needs of the community in a holistic fashion. It’s not just us who say this. It’s also a critical building block of international standards in humanitarian practice and development.


We’ve seen the effects of poor healthcare delivery, with outbreaks of disease, and other medical issues not being addressed. How can you deliver care when the aim of the service is to churn through 100s of patients a day in an outdoor medical camp dishing out pills without listening to the patient or examining them? Critical cases get missed, as do sensitive cases of psychological trauma or gender-based violence and nothing gets reported to the wider humanitarian co-ordination system. This is what has been going on, and this style of medical project is what many charities still support and fund.


Our solution? We have launched our ‘Human Resources of Refugee Health Programme’, of which the first component is a professionally delivered training course for local Bangladeshi doctors responding to the crisis through local clinic being run by Bangladeshi charities. We now have a number of volunteer doctors working to develop our Postgraduate Fellowship Refugee in Health. This fellowship will consist of 7 modules covering some of the critical issues in humanitarian health principles and practice, such as infectious diseases, mental health and gender-based violence.


We are working with our Bangladeshi partners to recruit and enrol local doctors onto the programme. We’ve hired staff to help deliver the project, and we have our first group of volunteers heading out to begin teaching and training at the end of February. We have also involved some excellent re-knowned local medical experts to teach on our programme.


We aim to train 60 frontline health care workers/doctors who are working through 3-4 local health facilities. This in turn will impact the lives of an estimated 60-90,000 Rohingya refugees.
Such an innovative educational project doesn’t come cheap, but quality healthcare never does. We need at least £100,000 to do this. We’ve already started our work. Support us to continue it. The more you give the more we can.


We are also in contact with our partners in Burma, having helped to set up a local organisation there called Smile Education and Development Foundation in 2008 after Cyclone Nargis. We are waiting to get the latest updates on access into Northern Rakhine state, as well as seeing how we can sponsor a trip of local influential Burmese leaders to Rwanda to participate in a Genocide Prevention workshop hosted by the Aegis Trust.


We will continue to need volunteers doctors to contribute to developing training materials, as well as to travel out to Bangladesh to teach and supervise our local colleagues. Please do contact us if you would like to be part of this project. Even if you are not in position to serve as a volunteer, please do support us by donating to this project, and spread the word about what we’re doing.


This is how we do our work; with integrity and collaboration, and striving for excellence. This is what it means to be part of Doctors Worldwide.