The International Organization for Migration's (IOM) Site Management and Site Development (SMSD) team organised visits from the Rohingya refugee community to the International Rescue Committees (IRC) Isolation and Treatment Centres (ITC) to relieve local apprehension and hesitation concerning Covid-19 health facilities in general.
The facility, constructed by the IRC, will open its doors next week, contributing 60 beds to the humanitarian community's overall contribution in Cox's Bazar.
IOM has scaled up their Covid-19 health response in the Cox's Bazar district of Bangladesh - repurposing existing health care centres and building new Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Isolation and Treatment Centres (SARI ITCs) – to dispel rumours and misinformation which are crucial to ensure that available services are used by the local community.
Maintaining physical distance and hygiene best practices, a total of 13 small groups (with a maximum 20 people per group) were selected from local religious leaders, community leaders, Extremely Vulnerable Individuals, women and girls, elderly, youth and learning centre teachers to learn more about the health response in-person.
The small groups visited each area of IRC's ITC while IOM, IRC and World Health Organization (WHO) staff explained the facility's purpose and answered questions.
Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Camp-In-Charge Official Pulok Kanty Chakraborty – expressed appreciation from the Government of Bangladesh for awareness raising activities in the camp – monitored the visits.
"By visiting this ITC, we saw everything, and we realize that such a facility is prepared and ready to receive patients which is good. From now we will share this information with our community people so that they will be informed about the services if they need, they can come," said Omar, a local Rohingya religious leader.
"Before, we did not know what the Isolation and Treatment Centre looked like inside. Information was limited about why this centre was set up,' said Momtaz, a Rohingya woman in Teknaf.
"The visit was organised to allow the community to experience a tour of the ITC firsthand before it becomes operational," said IOM Cox's Bazar's Site Management Coordinator in Teknaf, Connie Tangara.
"It is essential that community members are informed, understand procedure inside the isolation facility and feel able to provide feedback on changes needed to enhance accountability," she added.
Together with camp authorities and partners, IOM will continue the ITC awareness raising activities across Cox's Bazar to foster local trust, increase the effectiveness of health activities and contribute to the overall Covid-19 response.