After condom campaign failed, B’desh to offer voluntary sterilization to Rohingya refugees
Determined to stop the population explosion of Rohingya refugees who migrated from neighboring Myanmar, Bangladesh is contemplating voluntary sterilization in the overcrowded Rohingya refugee camps. The move comes after a massive condom disbursal campaign ended in failure.It need be mentioned that over a million refugees are fighting for space in these camps.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have arrived in Bangladesh since a military crackdown in neighbouring Myanmar in August triggered an exodus, straining resources in the impoverished country.
The latest arrivals have joined hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled in earlier waves from Myanmar’s Rakhine state, where the stateless Muslim minority has endured decades of persecution.
Most live in desperate conditions with limited access to food, sanitation or health facilities and local officials fear a lack of family planning could stretch resources even further.
Pintu Kanti Bhattacharjee, who heads the family planning service in the district of Cox’s Bazar where the camps are based, said there was little awareness of birth control among the Rohingya.
“The whole community has been deliberately left behind,” he told AFP, citing a lack of education in Myanmar, where the Rohingya are viewed as illegal immigrants and denied access to many services.
Bhattacharjee said large families were the norm in the camps, where some parents had up to 19 children and many Rohingya men have more than one wife.
District family planning authorities have launched a drive to provide contraception, but say they have so far managed to distribute just 549 packets of condoms among the refugees, who are reluctant to use them.