EU grant to improve health services for more than one million vulnerable people

EU grant to improve health services for more than one million vulnerable people

SEAR/PR/1701

Dhaka, 25 September: A European Union grant of €1 million (US$1.2 million) is helping the World Health Organization to strengthen health services for the nearly one million vulnerable Rohingyas and their host communities in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, who remain at risk of disease outbreaks.

WHO Bangladesh

“The funds are being used to strengthen life-saving primary health care services and enhance capacities to minimise the number of deaths and cases in the event of an outbreak,” said Dr Bardan Jung Rana, WHO’s Representative to Bangladesh.

Committed to working with the Bangladesh Government to address the huge health needs of this vulnerable population, WHO is coordinating the work of over 100 national and international health partners in the Rohingya camps and adjoining areas, he said.

WHO has also distributed nearly 200 metric tons of medicines, supplies and equipment to health facilities and partners.

“The EU grant will enable WHO to sustain and build on a number of essential services,” said Dr Khalid El Tahir, WHO’s Incident Manager, who is heading the emergency operations for WHO in Cox’s Bazar.

The grant will also be used to strengthen disease surveillance to guard against and reinforce WHO’s coordination capacity to respond to disease outbreaks, Dr Khalid said.

WHO has been supporting disease surveillance, providing evidence and strategies to prevent and rapidly curtail deadly diseases. WHO has been also training partners to prepare and respond to various potential health risks in view of the continuing sub-optimal water and sanitation conditions and the risk of floods and landslides and their associated health impact in Cox’s Bazar.

Nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees arrived in Cox’s Bazar since 25th of August 2017, overwhelming the already fragile environment and health facilities.

“WHO welcomes and is very appreciative of the much needed support which comes at a time when the health risks and needs of this vulnerable population is growing, and the under-funded health sector is struggling to sustain essential services,” Dr Rana said.

The European Union with its Member States is a leading global donor of humanitarian aid. Through the European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), the EU helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, ECHO provides assistance to the most vulnerable people solely on the basis of humanitarian needs, without discrimination of race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.

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For media inquiries, contact:

Shamila Sharma
WHO South-East Asia Regional Office
Public Information and Advocacy Officer
Phone: +91 9818287256
Email: sharmasha@who.int

Catalin-Constantin Bercaru
WHO Country Office Bangladesh
Phone: +88 017 8769 3318 Email: bercaruc@who.int

Kate Marshall
WHO Emergency Office
Cox's Bazar
Communications Officer
Phone: +880 1701 202 965
Email: marshalla@who.int