AN early warning system supported by UK aid is helping health experts in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazaar to detect outbreak of diseases such as chicken pox.
More than 4,000 people, almost half of whom are under five years, are believed to have contracted chicken pox virus and the new system has helped health care officials to provide immediate attention to the most vulnerable and complicated cases.
The early warning system, supported by the Department of International Development, gathers information on new cases across 168 health centres in Cox’s Bazaar and a mobile app allows health experts to track potentially deadly outbreaks.
International development secretary Penny Mordaunt said technology and intelligence were being used to respond to problems before they become disasters.
Mordaunt said: “By responding at the first stage of a disease outbreak, rather than when it is already an epidemic, we will save more lives, more efficiently.
“Chicken pox is familiar to children and families across the world, but it is significantly worse in a refugee camp. That is why UK aid is helping the most vulnerable and is prepared to respond to new outbreaks in the future.”
More than one million Rohingya people are currently housed in Cox’s Bazaar and the crowded conditions in the camps allow diseases to spread rapidly.
In December 2018, following an outbreak of diphtheria, the UK aid funded Emergency Medical Team, consisting of the UK’s top medical professionals, was deployed to Cox’s Bazaar to help stem the spread of the disease.