Health worker in Cox's Bazar screens a child for malnutritionHealth worker in Cox's Bazar screens a child for malnutritionHealth worker in Cox's Bazar screens a child for malnutrition

“I’m afraid the coronavirus will push Rohingya refugees into another crisis”

“I’m afraid the coronavirus will push Rohingya refugees into another crisis”

Atiqul and Rajiya work in Concern’s Nutrition Centre in Cox’s Bazar. They give an insight into what life is like during a pandemic while working on the front line of the world’s largest refugee camp.

Atiqul says:

“In the Nutrition Centre, I help tackle malnutrition in children under five. I screen them for malnutrition and provide information about nutrition to new mothers.

This support is essential for children in the Rohingya refugee community and we’re continuing this work during the pandemic, as well as distributing health supplies and food. Now, when I do my work, I also deliver awareness messages to the children’s parents on social distancing, hand washing, hygiene practice and wearing masks to protect the community.

The coronavirus pandemic poses a threat to everyone’s life. I think every little step and safety measure is significant to prevent the spread of the virus. Now that the virus has already entered Cox’s Bazar, we are reaching out to vulnerable people with essential support and information to minimise the virus’s potential impact on their lives.

Seeing the news updates definitely worries me, but these parents consider me their friend and rely on me to help prevent their children suffering from malnutrition. Being on the front line, it’s not the time to be afraid - it’s the time to fight against the virus.”

Being on the front line, it’s not the time to be afraid - it’s the time to fight against the virus.

Atiqul - who works in Concern's Nutrition Centre in Cox's Bazar

Rajiya says:

“I’m a Nutrition Counsellor and have been working in Cox’s Bazar since 2018. My colleagues here are like friends and family.

My job is to provide counselling to mothers to fight and prevent malnutrition; I conduct sessions for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and do one-to-one counselling with mothers on infant and young child feeding practices. Now, I am also providing awareness sessions to help protect the Rohingya community from the deadly virus.

I am afraid the coronavirus will push Rohingya refugees into another crisis. To protect the mothers we work with and help prevent the spread of the virus in the camps, we’ve been social distancing, wearing gloves, masks and washing our hands regularly to ensure the life-saving work at the Nutrition Centre can continue safely.

A nutrition counsellor helps a mother and her baby in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh
Rajiya, one of Concern's Nutrition Counsellors in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

For me, it was a difficult decision to continue my work during this pandemic; I had to think about my own family, as going out every day increased the risk to their lives. But I have shared prevention measures with them and given them essential information about staying safe and healthy.

I want to help the most vulnerable people right now, and work with Concern Worldwide as long I can.”

Rajiya and Atiqul are part of our dedicated, trained team who are responding on the ground in Cox’s Bazar as the coronavirus situation continues to rapidly evolve. Please help them minimise the spread of the virus within the camps and save lives.

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