Interviewer: Tin Tun (IPRD)
The Ministry of Health and Sports will provide healthcare services at camps that will start scrutinising and accepting displaced persons from 23 January, under an agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh, according to Director General Dr Tha Tun Kyaw of the Public Health Department.
The director general said the ministry had already finalised its healthcare programme that will be provided at the repatriation camps. The repatriation programme involves officials of the department and its partners, such as the WHO, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNOPS of the UN. These officials have arrived here to introduce management functions.
Currently, there are two repatriation camps – Taungpyoletwe camp and Ngakhuya camp. The immigration department is currently adopting repatriation procedures, while the health sector has already formed 11-member teams led by a doctor.
The teams will conduct medical check-ups of the returnees to determine if they are suffering from any infectious diseases. The vaccination programme for them will depend on the kind of vaccine they were given in Bangladesh. The teams will give each person 11 kinds of vaccinations. They will also measure the height, weight and health condition of the returnees.
The teams will also examine elderly persons to determine if they have incommunicable diseases such as heart disorder, hypertension and diabetes. Pregnancy care programmes will also be made available to the returnees, which will provide the necessary vaccines to expectant mothers. Both repatriation camps will provide the same healthcare programmes. If a returnee is found to be suffering from any severe illness, the ambulances on standby at the camps will take them to the hospital in Maungtaw.
The Hla Poe Khuang camp, which will accept returnees transferred from the two repatriation camps, already has 12-member health teams led by a doctor. The team will also provide anti-worm drugs, especially to children, as well as medical check-ups and treatment for incommunicable diseases. The camp can give up to 11 kinds of vaccines. All the repatriation camps will have an adequate supply of medical equipment and medicines. According to WHO, a few returnees are suffering from certain kinds of infectious diseases contracted in Bangladesh. So, the teams will provide extra healthcare and treatment services to prevent the occurrence of an epidemic among the returnees. The department will use staff from Buthidaung and Maungtaw in Rakhine State in the initial stage. However, in the long run, health staff from other parts of the state will join in the programme as part-time workers. If the programme takes longer, it will be reinforced with health staff from other regions and states. Each camp will accept 150 returnees daily, which makes it 300 returnees per day. The health teams are expected to handle this number. Arrangements have also been made to ensure there are no shortages in healthcare services provided to ethnic people of other regions and states.