by Nat Crewe; DRG Team Leader
Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh
Today saw the arrival of the bulk of Team 2 into Cox’s Bazar. For the next 14 days I’ll be lucky enough to be working alongside Alex Galonski (Logistics Co-Ordinator), Shane Burns(Ambulance Paramedic), Lily Lucent (Ambulance Paramedic), Melinda Robertson (Ambulance Paramedic), Amy Segers (Ambulance Paramedic), Simon Cavoli (Clinical Registered Nurse) and Dr Kate Baecher (Clinical Psychologist). We’ll be ably assisted by Mr Moslem (Head Translator), a team of revolving translators and two drivers. All-in-all, quite an operation!!
After a briefing by Kate, the team split into two parties. One was to remain behind and manage stores, whilst the other travelled to Burma Para refugee camp. The latter team was made up of Kate, Simon, Moslem and myself and the aim was to complete an extensive site orientation.
The team did an extensive walk-through the site, starting at the southern entrance to the camp. We made our way in an anticlockwise direction past various sites that, on paper, boasted medical clinics. None of these actually existed.
One positive find was the United Nation Population Fund (UNPFA) has taken shape and now has two large tents dedicated as “women-only” spaces. Kate made contact with the staff, who were delighted to learn that she is a clinical psychologist, and was invited to administer her skills at a future date.
Moving on, we inspected the ground work that has been underway for a possible DRG clinic site. The area is ideal due to it’s size and access to water. We were approached by one of the local leaders expressed his desire that DRG set up a clinic there as soon as possible. This temporary clinic might make a good spot from which our friend Dr Ayub can operate on our absence.
There was a short walk up and over the hill to the South during which we were presented with a couple of non-urgent patients. Although one 16 yo boy was being carried and had not been able to eat for 2 days (no appetite) and was feeling very weak. The team will make a home visit to see him tomorrow.
We left Burmapara at close to 5pm and headed back to Cox’s Bazar where we made a trip to the pharmacy to stock up on medications for ourselves and Dr Ayub.
Overall, our first impressions were that there is much work to be done here!
If you would like to help our mission, you can donate to the Backpacker Medics cause here: https://chuffed.org/project/bpmdrg-bangladesh#/supporters