Over 10,000 women suffer pregnancy complications

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Publication date: 29 September, 2017 
Rohingya influx

Over 10,000 women suffer pregnancy complications

Shamsuddin Illius back from Cox’s Bazar

Media: The Independent

Original URL: Over 10,000 women suffer pregnancy complications

E-paper URL:  Over 10,000 women suffer pregnancy complications

Among the Rohingyas refugees who have fled to Bangladesh, about 20,000 are expectant mothers, with over half of them suffering from complicated pregnancies.

“With the help of UN aid agencies and NGOs, we have selected over 20,000 expectant mothers among the Rohingyas who entered the country. Most of them are suffering from complicated pregnancies because these women had to walk very long to come to Bangladesh. Many of them had to wait in the mountains for weeks without food and shelter,” said Dr Md Abdul Salam, civil surgeon of Cox’s Bazar district.

Sources in aid agencies said 10,000 expectant Rohingyas are at risk of premature labour, preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, low amniotic fluid (oligohydramnios), ectopic pregnancy, placenta previa and pregnancy-induced high blood pressure.

A report by Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) said 24,000 pregnant women and lactating mothers need medical care.

The ISCG report further said 54,633 pregnant and lactating women needed nutritious supplementary food for prevention of malnutrition and treatment support.

It said primary healthcare coverage should be expanded to cover all the newly arrived Rohingyas as soon as possible.

The report, however, added that caregivers were afraid to access the existing nutrition centres, which are often very far from the refugee settlements. There was a need to establish mobile community nutrition centres to rapidly scale up treatment against malnutrition among children below five years as well as for pregnant and lactating women.

During the past one week, 2,544 pregnant and lactating women were admitted for malnutrition treatment and prevention programme and received nutritious supplementary food, the report said. As many as 184 pregnant and lactating women received counselling on infant and young child feeding, it added.

The report also said the nutrition sector was coordinating with various stakeholders to ensure early identification and treatment of malnourished children and pregnant and lactating women, through the better use of human resources.

There was lack of safe breastfeeding spaces in the settlements that are necessary to ensure the promotion and protection of breastfeeding, it said. Handicap International, a France-based NGO working for Rohingya refugees since 2007, said these expectant and lactating women belonged to a vulnerable category.

Rezia Dejito, Bangladesh country director of Handicap International, told The Independent: “We have mobile teams with nurses going to the settlements to attend to vulnerable people, including expectant mothers. We have detected 1,200 such vulnerable women in refugee camps at Kutupalong within three weeks. Unfortunately, we are facing shortage of manpower to tackle the ongoing influx.”

Shamsuddin Illius
Shamsuddin Illius is a print and online media journalist. He has been working in the field (fulltime) of journalism since 2010. He is very much passionate about journalism since his early age. Currently he is the Bureau Chief-Chittagong at The Business Standard.

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