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Germany gives €2m to IOM’s Covid-19 response in Bangladesh

  • Published at 01:26 pm September 11th, 2020
rohingya camp
Rohingyas living in camps are trapped there for long, people are born into camps, grow up in camps and become adults in camps Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

IOM will use it to expand healthcare for the Rohingya and their host community

Germany has provided €2 million to support the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM’s) Covid-19 response in Bangladesh. 

With this support from the German Federal Foreign Office, IOM will expand the provision of essential health services to the forcibly displaced Rohingya people and vulnerable members of the host community in Cox’s Bazar, as well as extend support to the Government of Bangladesh to build capacity at Points of Entry in Cox’s Bazar to identify, screen, and refer ill travelers.  

The funding will also enable IOM to establish three isolation and treatment centres, repurpose 100 medium term shelters for quarantine and isolation of mild covid cases, and support a cash-for-work program to build resilience of affected families in the camps/settlements.

IOM will also establish three ambulance decontamination sites, support ambulance dispatch coordination, and provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and training to Community Health Workers (CHWs) involved in contact tracing within refugee and host communities.

In addition, the funding will strengthen Government of Bangladesh led efforts at Points of Entry, by training POE staff to manage unwell travelers, establishing screening and isolation facilities at Cox’s Bazar airport, supplying POE frontline staff with necessary protective equipment and materials to maintain adequate sanitation of POE facilities.

It will further support/facilitate a nationwide conference of POE authorities to address Public Health Emergencies of International Concern (PHEICs).


Also read - Rohingya camps report first Covid-19 case


“We are glad to further support IOM’s Covid-19 response in Bangladesh. Expanding the provision of essential health services to Rohingya refugees and vulnerable members of the host community in Cox’s Bazar is essential to prevent further spread of the virus and to treat and educate people accordingly,” said Peter Fahrenholtz, German Ambassador to Bangladesh .

“We are grateful to the German government for their support that enables us to continue providing emergency health support to vulnerable communities, especially the Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar who are almost entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance,” said IOM‘s Giorgi Gigauri, Chief of Mission in Bangladesh. 

“This funding will enable us to continue to support the Bangladesh government to build capacity at Points of Entry so officials can take measures to prevent infected travelers from spreading the virus to their communities. Containment measures are so important in Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world,’ Gigauri added.

In recent months, IOM and partners invited community and religious leaders to participate in “Go and See” visits to build confidence in treatment and quarantine facilities. Community perceptions influence the uptake of health services and determine the success of crisis interventions. 

Since March, IOM has built three Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) Isolation and Treatment Centers (ITCs) for Covid-19 patients with a total capacity of 215 beds. 

IOM has also upgraded 13 additional health care facilities, scaled up the emergency Dispatch and Referral Unit (DRU) for ambulance and live-bed referral, and provided over 200,000 general health consultations at IOM managed Primary Health Care Centers (PHCCs) and Health Posts (HP) for refugees and host communities.

In order to save lives, the dissemination of accurate and reliable information is essential to stop transmission and prevent the spread of the virus. 

Over 1.9m sessions organized

Since March, IOM has trained community volunteers, organized over 1.9m awareness-raising sessions and messages including information on protection, prevention, treatment, and quarantine.

In the early days of the crisis, it became apparent that while physical distancing was being mandated by governments across the world, it just would not work in Cox’s Bazar where households live in such close proximity to one another. 

IOM and partners are mobilizing funding to build ITCs so infected members of the community can receive the treatment they need, and to refurbish/build quarantine facilities for potential contacts of confirmed cases so as to contain the spread of the virus.

Bangladesh faces critical humanitarian needs and the Covid-19 crisis is aggravated by the return of hundreds of thousands of migrant workers who have lost their jobs overseas due to the Covid-19 induced recession. 

The large scale, rapid return of migrant workers is placing an added strain on already overwhelmed healthcare and social support systems.




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