From the outset of the Covid-19 health crisis in Bangladesh, humanitarian agencies in Cox's Bazar have worked around the clock to prepare to effectively respond to the outbreak in the district, which hosts one of the largest refugee settlements in the world.
In May of this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Kingdom's Emergency Medical Team (UK EMT)--funded by the United Kingdom's Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office—re-established joint health efforts to combat the spread of Covid-19 throughout the district. The effort is aimed at enhancing Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures while supporting case management and referral systems for both Rohingya and neighbouring Bangladeshi communities.
"The joint efforts between IOM and UK EMT greatly benefit Covid-19 response efforts, especially for the most vulnerable in Cox's Bazar. The support provided by UK EMT on capacity building, technical guidance and supervision of clinical teams enhances the quality of service provided to both host community and refugee populations," stated Dr Charles Erik Halder, a National Program Officer for IOM's Emergency Preparedness & Response Programme in Cox's Bazar.
Sarah Collis, Health Lead of UK EMT's first team said of the partnership, "Working with IOM was an incredible experience for the UK EMT. We were quickly welcomed into the team which enabled us to get straight to work, sharing our technical knowledge and immediately driving the response forward."
Collis added, "The relationship was open and collaborative from the beginning and it was clear that both teams were committed to ensuring the Rohingya and host populations had access to quality Covid-19 services in Cox's Bazaar. UK EMT also supported the development of trainings and guidelines at coordination level in areas such as palliative care and rehabilitation, working closely with WHO and supporting coherence and cooperation amongst partners."
Through robust partnerships and continued support, IOM and the humanitarian community seek to maintain and expand upon concerted efforts to strengthen the community's resilience to Covid-19 while supporting the overall humanitarian response.