Photo - REC

DMG Newsroom
24 June 2021, Sittwe

Some children from camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) in Arakan State are suffering from skin rashes, redness and dengue fever, as well as nausea, fevers, and diarrhoea, according to civil society groups and IDP camp officials.

U Shwe Baw Sein, chairman of the Rakhine Ethnics Congress (REC), said 10 children under the age of 5 in Kanzauk and Wah Taung IDP camps in Kyauktaw Township were suffering from skin-related illnesses.

“Children were playing in the water because of the heat. The creek water is itch-inducing because of the sand. It’s because of the itching. Because they use only stream water instead of lake water, it is like a skin disease due to uncleanliness,” he said.

In addition, an IDP camp at Shwe Parami Monastery in Rathedaung town has more than 10 children under the age of 2 who are suffering from dengue fever, mosquito bites, and diarrhoea, said Ko Yan Naing Soe, an official from the camp.

A 1-and-a-half-year-old child is being treated for schistosomiasis, also known as snail disease, and more than 10 people are suffering from malaria at the Pipin Yin IDP camp in Mrauk-U Township, said U Thein Kyaw Mya, manager of the camp.

“A pediatrician in Sittwe confirmed that there was a child with snail disease in our camp. A child with snail disease vomits and develops a fever. The test showed no symptoms. An ultrasound showed the child has no disease. The baby has been having this condition for about eight months. That’s why we want to open a clinic in our camp,” he said.

While dengue fever is a mosquito-borne disease, schistosomiasis and other illnesses are often tied to the typically unsanitary conditions at many IDP camps.

The Department of Health is distributing mosquito repellent in some villages and wards, said a nurse from Mrauk-U General Hospital.

DMG attempted to contact the Arakan State Department of Public Health to find out how healthcare was being provided in the camps, but no one at the department could be reached.

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