Bangladesh: ICRC operational highlights — October 2020

Dedicated infection prevention and control programme in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT)

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), in collaboration with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS), has been carrying out an intensive infection prevention and control (IPC) programme in Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT).

The programme, that has begun in September, is being implemented across 31 health facilities, including three District Sadar Hospitals and 22 Upazilla Health Complexes, in Khagrachari, Bandarban and Rangamati districts. The increased IPC support in view of COVID-19 has come as a boon for people living in these districts who visit the facilities for their healthcare needs.

The multi-layered programme includes imparting remote training to BDRCS volunteers. In turn, they train the sanitation staff at all government-run health structures while ensuring availability of Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) and cleaning/disinfection materials and tools. Around 130 staffers have been trained so far.

Massimo Russo, Water and Habitat Coordinator with the ICRC in Bangladesh, said, "The objective of the IPC programme is to strengthen the existing health setup. We have been providing training support for Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and on-site technical assistance, besides donating disinfection materials to key health facilities throughout Chittagong Hill Tracts. The idea is to complement the efforts of the government, local authorities and community leaders to help the local communities cope with the changes brought about by the pandemic."

Currently, these health complexes are being operated, cleaned and disinfected as per the SOPs provided and the BDRCS volunteers are monitoring the implementation of the programme. Besides this, chlorine, gloves, face shields, protective outerwear, gumboots and masks have been distributed at these places.

The IPC programme in Chittagong Hill Tracts is not only providing relevant knowledge to the staff members but also giving them the confidence to deal with infection in this new normal."

— Razwan Nabin, Programme Analyst and BDRCS IPC Focal

The ICRC, in partnership with the BDRCS, has been implementing community-based livelihood support programmes in CHT region since 2014. In a bid to help the communities access safe drinking water and sanitary and hygiene facilities, an integrated programme approach was adopted in 2016.