Improved Accessibility to Healthcare for 300,000 People

Ambassador H.E Ito (green vest) handing over the keys to Friendship, one of the ambulances on the left. ©Suman Ghosh/Friendship
Friendship News Desk 
September 13, 2022

The people of Japan donated 3 ambulances to Friendship for use in the Rohingya camps to ensure timely access to emergency and healthcare services yesterday. Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh H.E Ito Naoki, officially handed over the keys to Friendship at a ceremony in Friendship’s hospital in Ukhiya, Cox’s Bazar in the south of Bangladesh, where the camps are. Muhammad Shamim Reza, senior director, legal and chief financial officer, Friendship formally received the keys to the ambulances. 

At the occasion, H.E Naoki said that Japan is happy to always be by Bangladesh’s side with humanitarian aid, and that he hopes that the ambulances will play a vital role in ensuring patient transport and healthcare at the Forcibly Displaced Myanmar National (FDMN) camps. At the same time, he praised Friendship’s extant healthcare facilities at the camps. These interventions, like the ambulances that have been added to them, offer services both the FDMNs and the Bangladeshi host communities. 

Dr. Golam Rasul, head of Health, Friendship, speaking at the event. ©Suman Ghosh/Friendship

Dr. Golam Rasul, head of the health, Friendship said, “besides the Rohingyas, the local communities also have health risks. Consequently, Friendship is providing its services to both the Rohingyas and the host communities. The ambulances will offer accessibility to three hundred thousand people from both communities. Access to Ukhiya and Cox’s Bazar upazila (subdistrict) facilities will be much easier now, especially during inclement weather”. He further thanked the people of Japan for their generosity and compassion, hoping for a long-lasting Friendship between the people of the two countries. 

Present at the ceremony were Cox’s Bazar deputy commissioner Mohammad Mamunur Rashid, additional commissioner for Refugee Relief and Repatriation Mohammad Shamsud Douza, Ukhiya Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) Imran Hossen Sojib, UNHCR senior development officer Nodoka Hasegawa, and humanitarian coordinator, OIC, IOM Haruka, Friendship deputy director of health Dr. Rafi Abul Hasnath Siddique, and other associated officials.

It may be noted that Friendship has been working at the FDMN camps since the mass influx of the persecuted ethnic minority from Myanmar in 2017. The special purpose organisation’s interventions in health at the camps include one health post (for basic outdoor-based healthcare services), five primary healthcare centres, and one maternity centre which is the Friendship hospital, Ukhiya. 

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