As the humanitarian community scales up COVID-19 health response in the Cox’s Bazar, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) started visiting Isolation and Treatment Centre (ITC) to improve the Rohingyas’ attitudes towards the disease.
IOM has increased its efforts to dispel rumours and misinformation over coronavirus pandemic which are crucial to ensure that available services are used by the local community, said a press release.
“Before this, we didn’t know what the ITC looked like inside. Information was limited about why this centre was set up,” said Momtaz, a Rohingya woman in Teknaf.
“Now we’ve a clear picture of what is inside the ITC and this is very helpful for us. I can share with my family, relatives, and neighbours about my experience,” she added.
The facility, constructed by the International Rescue Committee (IRC), will open its doors next week, contributing 60 beds to the humanitarian community’s overall contribution in Cox’s Bazar.
To relieve local apprehension and hesitation concerning COVID-19 health facilities in general, the IOM Site Management and Site Development (SMSD) team organised visits from Rohingya community to IRC’s ITC earlier this week.
Maintaining physical distance and hygiene best practices, 13 small groups (maximum 20 people per group) were selected from local religious leaders, community leaders, extremely vulnerable individuals, women and girls, elderly, youth and learning centre teachers to learn more about the health response in-person.
The small groups visited each area of IRC’s ITC while IOM, IRC and World Health Organization (WHO) staff explained the facility’s purpose and answered questions.
Pulok Kanty Chakraborty, camp-in-charge, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC), expressed appreciation from the Government of Bangladesh for awareness raising activities in the camp.
“By visiting this ITC, we saw everything, and we realise that such facility is prepared and ready to receive patients which is good,” said Omar, a local Rohingya religious leader.
IOM Cox’s Bazar’s Site Management Coordinator in Teknaf, Connie Tangara, said: “ITC visits are essential that community members are informed, understand procedure inside the isolation facility and feel able to provide feedback on changes needed to enhance accountability.”
Together with camp authorities and partners, IOM will continue the ITC awareness raising activities across Cox’s Bazar.