COVID-19 Isolation centre opens for Bangladeshi communities, Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar

UNICEF in partnership with icddr,b (International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh) is supporting a 200-bed isolation and treatment centre in Teknaf Upazila in Cox’s Bazar District to provide critical care for COVID-19 patients from both Bangladeshi and Rohingya refugee communities.

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The Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Isolation and Treatment Centre (SARI ITC) will be managed by icddr,b in partnership with UNICEF, thanks to financial support from the Governments of Australia, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the European Union and the World Bank.

“Globally, the number of COVID-19 cases still continues to increase. UNICEF works closely with the Government of Bangladesh and development partners to respond to this unprecedented challenge at both the national and sub-national levels,” said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF Country Representative in Bangladesh.

UNICEF is working with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to help strengthen the infection prevention and control, case management and data system-related issues concerning the COVID-19 among others. In addition, UNICEF is procuring critical medical equipment and supplies to support the prevention and the treatment of COVID-19 nationally as well as for those living in Cox’s Bazar.

“Local authorities are working hand-in-hand with UNICEF and icddr,b to save lives. The COVID-19 isolation and treatment centre is a major step forward,” said Md. Kamal Hossain, Deputy Commissioner, Cox’s Bazar.

The treatment centre will provide COVID-19 diagnosis and clinical care including oxygen therapy for severely ill patients from both Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities in Teknaf Upazila. It will operate 24 hours a day and will be served by over 300 highly trained and dedicated frontline workers, including doctors, nurses, patient care attendants, laboratory technicians, pharmacists and cleaners. Critically ill patients requiring mechanical ventilation will receive initial treatment and will then be referred to intensive care facilities in the district hospital. An incinerator has been installed for safe disposal of waste materials. Additionally, the centre will have awareness programs to prevent the spread of COVID-19 disease.

“Due to the very high population density, the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar remain to be one of the most vulnerable places for the COVID-19 epidemic. This centre will provide vital support for both Bangladeshi and Rohingya communities,” said Md. Mahbub Alam Talukder, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, Cox’s Bazar.

“We are proud to partner with UNICEF to provide critical health services at this exceptional time. We appreciate the efforts of our staff who are on the frontline responding to this crisis,” said Dr. John David Clemens, Executive Director of icddr,b.

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