A European Union grant of €1 million (US$1.2 million) is helping the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen health services for the nearly one million vulnerable Rohingyas and their host communities in Cox’s Bazar, who remain at risk of disease outbreaks, said WHO. 

“The funds are being used to strengthen life-saving primary health care services and enhance capacities to minimize the number of deaths and cases in the event of an outbreak,” said Dr. Bardan Jung Rana, WHO’s Representative to Bangladesh.

Committed to working with the Bangladesh government to address the huge health needs of this vulnerable population, WHO is coordinating the work of over 100 national and international health partners in the Rohingya camps and adjoining areas, he said.

Essential Services

WHO has also distributed nearly 200 metric tonnes of medicines, supplies and equipment to health facilities and partners, said a press release. “The EU grant will enable WHO to sustain and build on a number of essential services,” said Dr Khalid El Tahir. 

The grant will also be used to strengthen disease surveillance to guard against and reinforce WHO’s coordination capacity to respond to disease outbreaks, Dr. Khalid said.

“WHO welcomes and is very appreciative of the much-needed support which comes at a time when the health risks and needs of this vulnerable population is growing, and the underfunded health sector is struggling to sustain essential services,” Dr. Rana said.

Global Donor

The European Union with its Member States is a leading global donor of humanitarian aid. Through the European Commission's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO), the EU helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters every year. 

With its headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, ECHO provides assistance to the most vulnerable people solely on the basis of humanitarian needs, without discrimination of race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.