Responding to the vast humanitarian need of the 740, 000 Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh in the summer of 2017 to escape violence in Myanmar, MOAS arrived in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in September 2017 and quickly established two ‘Primary Healthcare Aid Stations’ to serve the refugee camps of Shamlapur and Unchiprang. Here Rohingya refugees and the host community were able to receive expert medical care, and by the end of 2018, these Aid Stations had provided medical assistance to 90,000 people.
On Sunday 12th November 2017, the MOAS team delivered their first baby at the Shamlapur Aid Station. The baby was born to Nurunnahar and Shafiul, a Rohingya couple who were born in Bangladesh in the Notunpara community in Shamlapur to refugee parents. They came to the Aid Station in the mid-morning and the MOAS medical team sprang into action. The family were monitored as labour progressed over the course of the coming hours. The MOAS Medical Lead was on hand to oversee treatment and assess the situation should Nurunnahar need to be transferred to the local hospital in the MOAS ambulance in case of complications. Thankfully, this was not needed and, through the diligent care and guidance of the MOAS medical team, a healthy baby boy was born to the happy couple at 1pm local time.
Speaking to Dr Giada Bellanca after the delivery, she said: “We are all absolutely delighted that our preparation and planning allowed our first delivery at a MOAS Aid Station to go so smoothly. I am grateful to our team for their good work and we are wishing the family all the very best for the future.”
Shafiul, who works at a local shop in Cox’s Bazar, told us how relieved and delighted he was to see his newborn son and wife in perfect condition after delivery and how excited he is to introduce the new addition to the community.
The overcrowded, unsanitary conditions in the refugee camps put pregnant women and their babies at high risk from disease and infection. Complications arising during birth can too often lead to tragic consequences when women are not able to access medical care. MOAS has provided vital support to women when they need it most, ensuring that they are able to deliver their babies with trained professionals ready to assist them and with the knowledge that they are in safe hands.
Each healthy baby born is a testament to the resilience of the mothers and the skills of the MOAS team.