Twelve 12 climate-resilient community clinics were inaugurated in Cox’s Bazar on Sunday under a joint effort to expand access to health care in remote areas.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) completed the first 12 of 100 community clinics under construction, with the Bangladesh government and the World Bank as part of the joint effort to provide an enhanced network of essential services.
Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque inaugurated the facilities as the chief guest.
“We are now working together to ensure the healthcare system reaches the doorstep of every person. The inauguration of the newly constructed community clinics in Cox’s Bazar is one of many government interventions to achieve this goal,” the minister said at the event.
Access to basic infrastructure and services in the southernmost part of the country, where Bangladesh hosts around 1.0 million Rohingya refugees, were already much lower compared to the national average.
Many of the existing health facilities were built two decades ago and have since suffered infrastructural damage caused by flooding and other natural hazards.
IOM demolished the old clinics and constructed larger, environmentally sustainable buildings that include solar-powered systems, safe water supply and improved sanitation facilities, said IOM in a media release.
“The multidimensional needs of refugee and host communities requires strong partnerships between key humanitarian and development actors to simultaneously tackle immediate and long-term challenges,” Abdusattor Esoev, IOM Chief of Mission in Bangladesh, said.
This collaboration between the Government of Bangladesh, World Bank and IOM represents a concrete example of how to translate the humanitarian-development nexus into lasting results, Esoev added.
As the first line of care in the communities, these clinics provide much-needed support with reproductive and family medicine; health screenings, gender-based violence response and nutrition counselling.
“We have been working in close coordination with the humanitarian agencies, development partners and non-governmental organisations,” Dandan Chen, World Bank Acting Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, was quoted in the release.
“Through a total of US$150 million in grant support to IOM among other actors, the World Bank is helping to address the needs of host communities in Bangladesh and displaced Rohingya until their safe, voluntary and dignified return home to Myanmar,” Chen added.
IOM also upgraded, staffed and equipped Sadar Hospital, the district’s only secondary health care centre.