Improved Healthcare in Hospitals in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh

Project completed
Women, children and men  in a Surgical ward
The SDC is helping to upgrade the hospitals' infrastructure © SDC

Since August 2017, over 700,000 Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Together with refugees who fled during previous crises, some 900,000 refugees from Myanmar are currently living in Cox's Bazar district in southern Bangladesh. The region's three hospitals have been unable to cope with the enormous increase in the number of refugees.  Swiss Humanitarian Aid is helping to upgrade the hospitals' infrastructure and providing training in laboratory analysis and logistics.

Country/region Topic Period Budget
Medical services
Health systems strengthening
15.05.2018 - 31.03.2020
CHF 200'000

Since the early 1990s, Bangladesh has taken in over 300,000 Rohingyas fleeing violence in Myanmar. Some of these refugees have been able to return to Myanmar. Since August 2017, renewed outbreaks of violence have forced over 700,000 people to flee to Bangladesh, mainly to Cox's Bazar district in the south of the country. 

The refugees left their homes with scarcely any belongings and used up all their savings on the journey. In Bangladesh, they are now dependent on humanitarian aid, food, shelter and other vital resources.   The refugee camps of Cox's Bazar still lack sufficient sanitation, clean drinking water and basic healthcare services. There is a growing risk of disease outbreaks and epidemics. 

The mass influx of refugees has swelled the population in the catchment area of the three hospitals in the region by 30% to over 3 million people, resulting in constantly overcrowded hospitals and a lack of infrastructure, instruments and personnel. 

Improved infrastructure and professionally trained hospital staff 

In November 2017, the SDC launched its first humanitarian project with the Bangladeshi health authorities in order to improve healthcare services for the local population and Rohingya refugees. During the initial stage of the project, the SDC supplied beds, bedside tables and IV stands for the main hospital in Cox's Bazar, optimising healthcare for 100 patients. A Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) expert assisted the hospitals in procuring and setting up various diagnostic instruments, including ultrasound and blood analysis equipment. To ensure proper use and maintenance of the equipment, the SHA expert also trained hospital staff in how to read and apply the results correctly.

SHA expert posing for a photo with medical staff.
SHA expert (second from left) with Sadar Hospital management team. © SDC

During the second phase of the project, set to be completed by the end of December 2018, the SHA expert will work with the hospital management to close gaps in the blood donation and transfusion system. This will involve procuring medical supplies and devices, installing equipment and training staff in the use of the equipment and the sterilisation of the blood collection and transfusion facilities. The SHA expert will work closely with regional and national authorities to set new hygiene and blood transfusion standards and enhance management capabilities. The objective is to save lives and improve medical care and treatment outcomes.

The project is co-financed by the Principality of Liechtenstein as part of a humanitarian partnership.