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During the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities made a change in the classification of malnutrition and concomitant service delivery protocol among the Rohingya children, residing in world’s largest refugee camp, located in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. In this paper, we discussed the potential implications of this updated protocol on the malnutrition status among children residing in the Rohingya camps.
This paper reviewed relevant literature and authors’ own experience to provide a perspective of the updated protocol for the classification of malnutrition among the children in the Rohingya camps and its implication from a broader perspective.
Rohingya refugee camps, Bangladesh.
Children aged less than five years residing in the Rohingya camps.
Major adaptation during this COVID-19 was the discontinuation of using weight-for-height z-score (WHZ) and the use of only mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) and presence of oedema for admission, follow-up and discharge of malnourished children in the camps. However, evidence suggests that use of MUAC only can underestimate the prevalence of malnutrition among the children in Rohingya camps. These apparently non-malnourished children are devoid of the rations that they would otherwise receive if classified as malnourished, making them susceptible to more severe malnutrition.
Our analysis suggests that policymakers should consider using the original protocol of using both MUAC and WHZ to classify malnutrition and retain the guided ration size. We also believe that it would not take an extra effort to adopt the original guideline as even with MUAC only guideline, certain health measures needed to adopt during this pandemic.
Depression is globally a crucial communal psychiatric disorder, which is more common in older adults. The situation is considerably worse among millions of older (forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals or FDMNs) Rohingya adults, and the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic may exacerbate the already existing precarious situation. The present study investigated depressive symptoms and their associated factors in older adult Rohingya FDMNs in Cox Bazar, Bangladesh, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 416 older adults aged 60 years and above residing in Rohingya camps situated in the South Eastern part of Bangladesh were interviewed using a 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS-15) in Bengali language. Chi-square test was performed to compare the prevalence of depressive symptoms within different categories of a variable and a binary logistic regression model was performed to determine the factors associated with depressive symptoms.
More than 41% of Rohingya older adults had depressive symptoms (DS). Socio-demographic and economic factors such as living alone, dependency on family for living, poor memory, feelings of being left out, difficulty in getting medicine and routine medical care during COVID-19, perception that older adults are at highest risk of COVID-19 and pre-existing non-communicable chronic conditions were found to be significantly associated with developing DS. Higher DS was also evident among older female Rohingya FDMNs.
DS are highly prevalent in older Rohingya FDMNs during COVID-19. The findings of the present study call for immediate arrangement of mental health care services and highlight policy implications to ensure the well-being of older FDMNs.
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