Addressing small bites to avoid big risks
Nearly 13.2 million people are at risk of malaria in Bangladesh. Cox’s Bazar, where a large number of Rohingyas have taken refuge, is among the districts reporting high number of malaria cases and deaths.
The overcrowded camps with suboptimal sanitation conditions increase the risk of vector borne diseases such as malaria in the refugee camps.
To protect the vulnerable population from diseases caused by mosquito bites, WHO is working with BRAC Community Health Workers (CHWs) to mobilize Rohingyas in Ukhya and Teknaf camps to prevent mosquito breeding by keeping their environment clean and use bed nets.
According to WHO, use of long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) is recommended for people living in areas at risk of malaria. Besides distributing LLINs, effective behaviour change is needed to ensure that people use the nets every night and even maintain it well.
“Cox’s Bazar district experiences seasonal transmission of malaria. WHO is supporting malaria prevention efforts across all sectors by working with community members to eliminate mosquito larval habitats. Prevention of vector borne diseases is more than spraying insecticides or delivering nets,” says Dr Khalid el Tahir, Incident Manager, WHO Cox’s Bazar.
Along with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Bangladesh, WHO continues to lead the health sector response in Cox’s Bazar, to identify, respond and meet the health needs of the nearly 1.3 million vulnerable population – the Rohingya refugees, their host communities and others living in close proximity to them.