Bangladesh is now home to close to over half a million Rohingya refugees, fleeing violence in Myanmar. While the country has agreed to host the refugees, they do not have a warm attitude toward the stateless community, living in about 10 square miles of their land.
I am here working in the Kutupalong camp near Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh as a nurse in a primary health center. The center is located about 30 minute walk from the "entrance" to the camp, or the nearest drive-able road. It is a dusty, overstimulating walk from the van to the center. There are more people than you can possibly imagine. I have yet to see a smile.
The field hospital is a medium-sized tent with several outbuildings. I am working with about 5-6 doctors and a several national nurses. The goal of the clinic is to see patients at the primary or urgent care level and refer the sicker patients to nearby hospitals such as MSF (Doctor's Without Borders and the Red Cross).
On my second day, I was sent on a medical transport to take a TB patient to MSF. TUBERCULOSIS. "Just wear a mask and roll the windows down when you get to the van." I was the only English-speaker in the pack and had to hand off the patient to another person who barely spoke English. The man at MSF took out a card that said "TB" on it and told the patient to go sit in the waiting room with all the other patients. And then I left. What will happen to her? I have no idea.
I work with a fantastic team of national staff who are working so hard to help the refugees. The hours are long, the breaks are few, and everything involves lots of walking. They inspire me to keep going and have a good attitude!