Struggles for health: Refugees and migrants in Bangladesh

“An estimated 671.500 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh following violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State on 25 August 2017. There are now a total of 883.868 Forcibly Displaced Myanmar National (FDMN) in Bangladesh. The total population in need of health sector assistance is 1.3 million including approximately 300.000 from the host community population” (World Health Organisation Report 4/18)

People that are seeking asylum and migrants face immense health needs in Bangladesh, they are not a homogenous group, but all of them had to flee their origin countries in an attempt to survive and to find better living conditions.

From the moment asylum seekers are forced to leave their homes they face a wide range of difficulties, that affect their mental health and has a great impact and shape their acceptance and expectation of how their life is going to be in the host countries.

Not only they have to face a hard and dangerous journey they also have to deal with the lack of understanding and empathy of the host government structure and of the host population that is every day more and more against of their presence in their states and their desire and effort to have a decent life.

One of the big issues that refugees have to deal with in the guest state, is their access to effective health care. They have to overcome numerous difficulties such as the cultural, language and financial limits, but what troubles them the most is the lack of information and understanding of the Bangladeshi health system which adds up to the common distrust of the government services and prevents to have complete use of the health care system.

The problems that the new life has, trigger in parents what is called resettlement stress, which affect their ability to take care of their children. They are the ones facing most of the risks but unaccompanied and separated children are even more vulnerable because they experience further challenges in accessing health care.

But it is important to know that refugees and migrants’ health basic needs are the same as the ones of the world population, but poverty, environmental issues and social exclusion have a huge negative impact on their access to the health services.

The refugees and migrants’ struggle would be easier if the government and all the international organisation were able to coordinate themselves and use a strategic and human approach, but the size of the crisis and the environmental problems are a big threat and limit, therefore, it is important that charities and organisations such as Asylum Seekers keep doing their work.

Because providing information will definitely help refugees, asylum seekers and migrants to make and stay in contact with health and social agencies that with their resources and a patience approach have all the tools to provide a specialist help and support. This one of the ways that will improve their living in the host countries and make it a bit less traumatic.

Giovanna