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Prepare for COVID-19 in the world’s largest refugee camp

May 10, 2020

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MSF is examining the multiple challenges of both the pandemic and the conditions in which refugees live

DACA, May 10 (By Paul Brockmann, MSF representative – in Bangladesh)

Conducting medical activities in the largest refugee camp in the world, where almost a million people live, is at best a challenge. Maintaining these activities amid the greatest global health crisis of our time is little less than a Herculean effort.

Prepare for COVID-19 in the world’s largest refugee campPrepare for COVID-19 in the world’s largest refugee camp

At Doctors Without Borders, we quickly expanded our facilities to respond to COVID-19 in Bangladesh. Isolation beds are available in our projects in the Cox’s Bazar District. We have trained staff: from basic infection control and prevention measures to protocols for treating patients with COVID-19.

However, an effective medical response to COVID-19 requires more than just isolation beds. We need enough medical personnel and supplies to protect and treat patients, ensure continuity of care for other patients, and ensure community participation and trust.


One of the immediate effects of the pandemic was erosion of trust. Understandably, the people of Bangladesh and the Rohingya are afraid. Rumors and misinformation are common and endanger people’s access to care. Unfortunately, a common rumor among Rohingya refugees is that if they have COVID-19, they will be removed from their families and killed.

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