There are nearly 100 NGOs, UN agencies, or government bodies working on the massive refugee response in Bangladesh’s Rohingya camps. But only one – a tiny local organisation – is focused on the neglected field of palliative care.
The Dhaka-based Fasiuddin Khan Research Foundation treats people with life-threatening or severe chronic illnesses in their homes – finding hard-to-reach patients who can’t access hospitals or clinics in the sprawling camps.
Proponents say it’s the first palliative care programme in any humanitarian response.
PalCHASE is pushing for emergency response plans to include palliative care from the outset, so medical workers can avoid difficult decisions about whom to treat – something the organisation’s co-founder, Brett Sutton, said can be effectively forced on medical responders.
“There’s probably a sense that it’s a little bit luxurious [to focus on the terminally ill] and should come down the list of priorities,” Sutton said.
Khan’s programme employs eight Rohingya health workers. They care for patients by providing medicine and foods that may aid recovery, or distributing books or toys for emotional support.
Campaign launched to address palliative care needs
In addressing the chronic health needs of displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh, a fundraising campaign has been launched by Drs. Farzana Khan and Megan Doherty, two passionate palliative care physicians with extensive experience providing in Bangladesh, in partnership with PalCHASE.
The aim of the campaign is to ensure that refugees in the camps can get medications to relieve pain and suffering, an area of medical care which has been neglected by other aid organizations. Funds will be allocated to purchase medications, medical supplies, and other basic needs of the patients in the palliative care program.
To support the campaign, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/rohingya-refugees-palliative-care.