Doctors Worldwide

In focus: healthcare workers in the Rohingya refugee camps (part 2)

The 2018-19 PGF (Postgraduate Fellowship in Refugee and Migrant Health) Programme in Bangladesh aims to improve and strengthen the quality and delivery of healthcare provided to Rohingya refugees and local host populations at health facilities primarily located in camps around Cox’s Bazar. The programme was specifically designed to help local doctors working in humanitarian settings to improve their clinical practice. After it’s successful completion between 2018-19, the project has now been updated and recently began again in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, at the beginning of March.

Video Interview Transcript with Dr Raisul Islam, a healthcare worker in the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh who participated in Cohort A of our PGF Programme, in 2018/19.

What made you decide to become a doctor/healthcare worker? 

I have lost my sister. She was born before me. She died when she was 1 year. We lost her because of heart disease. She had congenital heart disease. So, then I was born in this world. When my parents told me about this incident, then I thought let’s do something in clinical science, let’s become a physician, so then I can save other patients. So that was the thing really that inspired me becoming a physician.

What made you decide to work as a healthcare worker in the Rohingya refugee camps?

The camps because, this is a lifetime experience to work in this humanitarian crisis. You will not find this kind of opportunity, especially in a new country, it’s not very much. It’s real. This is the place where I can learn. I can build my capacity. I can prepare myself for the international outbreak response. This is the main thing I’ve joined here.

Do you feel like you’re making a difference in the Rohingya refugee camps?

Yes, I’m working in the refugee context for one and a half years, so there has been a change of view. I have started to see things in a different context. And, I have been brought up in metropolitan cities or towns so from the cities we cannot actually imagine what is actually happening and what suffering they are going through. So, I am seeing them from my eyes and it’s really changing me.

How do you think the Postgraduate Fellowship Programme in Refugee & Migrant Health is helping you to improve your skills as a healthcare worker?

So, I’ve just started my classes, so it’ll be too early to comment on this but when I saw the contents, I’m very much happy and i think I was because I haven’t received any kind of fellowship or masters courses…just graduated. So yes, I was doing works, I was trying but I wasn’t a strategic, I don’t know what I am doing. But when I saw the contents, I believe, I do believe I’ll find the course – I’ll be strategic, and my planning capacity will be more accurate and I’m pretty much confident about this. 

Have you seen any other opportunities or healthcare training like this before?

Not working here because here – there are no universities, no agencies who are going to train us, so this is a very good opportunity. I am doing my work, I am in my station, and I’m also doing the fellowship. It will definitely reach me, theoretically and practically. 

Would you recommend other doctors/healthcare workers to take this course?

Yes, I’m recommending. Because, do this and become matured. 

How will this course help the Rohingya refugees as well?

Because after doing the fellowship we’ll be a better physician as well as a better administrator. Then I can invent, I can improvise the existing system, I can modify the existing system, so refugees get the best service in the fewest time. If the whole health sector, if they have the opportunity to do this course, then we will have a very much strong teamwork. Now we have done this course we know what we have done, what we are doing and what we’re going to do. 

Thank you to Dr Raisul Islam for giving us his time and offering some insight into how the PGF Programme has benefited his role as a healthcare provider in the Rohingya refugee camps. 

Read more about our work in Bangladesh / Support Doctors Worldwide.

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