Management of patients with infectious diseases at Red Cross and Red Crescent field hospital in Bangladesh for refugees from Myanmar

Dr May Yeung1, Prof Emily Chan1

1The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin


The Red Cross emergency hospital was opened in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in October 2017. The hospital aims to provide vital health care including surgery to more than 500,000 of refugees fled from Myanmar in 2017. The 60-bed hospital is run by the Norwegian and Finnish Red Cross, and staffed by national medical personnel, including 15 doctors and 30 midwives from the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, and a 30-strong team of international staff.

We synthesizes evidence in published literature, online resource, internal documents and personal field experience. It is a broad review of epidemiology pattern and management of patients with infectious diseases at Red Cross hospital in Bangladesh in May 2018.

High infectious disease prevalence in refugee populations had been reported for tuberculosis, diphtheria, mumps; and other diseases with unknown causative agents such as acute diarrheal diseases, respiratory illnesses, parasitic infection, abscesses and unexplained fever. Most patients with infectious diseases were treated with board spectrum antibiotics for 5 to 7 days. Tuberculosis patients were diagnosed and followed up by the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC). There was individual vaccination programme for common diseases but there was no childhood immunization programme. Management of patients was limited by primitive laboratory and radiology support, no contact tracing, lack of isolation facilities, and poor hygiene conditions of patients during and after migration.

This article presented the latest available evidence on the pattern of infectious diseases in refugees, its management in a field hospital and the limitations on diseases control.


May PS Yeung is a medical doctor specialises in public health medicine. She obtained her Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and fellowships of the UK Faculty of Public Health and Hong Kong College of Community Medicine. Before joining the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) School of Public Health and Primary Care, she worked in the Department of Health in Hong Kong on infectious disease control, vaccination programming and emergency response and planninge. She joined various public health services with the Red Cross and Red Crescent Society including the population movement from Rakhine state of Myanmar to Bangladesh in 2018, Ebola mission in Liberia in 2014, and Community Health & Hygiene Education Program in China Qinghai Yushu after earthquake. She was an Honorary Medical Officer in the Hospital Authority during Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak in Hong Kong in 2003.

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