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Rohingya Clinic Ministry Update

February 1, 2020

Rohingya Clinic Ministry Update

February 1, 2020

Over the years, Reach Beyond has shared urgent needs and priorities with our prayer partners and supporters. Opportunities to serve unreached people sometimes open for just a season, but what happens next? In each issue of V+H Magazine, we will revisit some of these stories and share with you updates on the work, the impact made and how God has led us since.

In 2017, the plight of the Rohingya people made international news. An estimated 1 million ethnic Rohingya fled violent persecution in their home country of Myanmar and took refuge in neighboring Bangladesh. The Muslim-majority Rohingya are a conservative people group with their own language and culture. They are stateless - denied citizenship in Myanmar, and described by the UN as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

Rachel looks over the Rohingya Refugee campGod placed the Rohingya people on Reach Beyond’s heart years ago and a window opened to help serve their immediate needs shortly after the crisis arose in Bangladesh.
In early 2018, we began partnering with a Bangladeshi NGO. Our first project was to provide 10,000 blankets to families who had arrived in camp with nothing. But, we wanted to do more. With the Bangladeshi partner, we identified a need for a medical clinic, and we helped launch a primary care clinic in one of the many Rohingya refugee camps – this one home to over 20,000 Rohingya people.

The clinic has helped meet the needs of camp residents through their time of greatest upheaval and urgency – during relocation and building of their homes, when access and paths to other medical options had not been established. Our volunteer doctors, and teams from around the world, have worked alongside the clinic’s Bangladeshi staff to offer expertise and compassionate care to thousands of patients, treating each person with dignity and living out the love of Jesus. They have had more than 30,000 patient visits.

For the Bangladeshi team who are have been on site each day, there is a sense that the clinic has accomplished much in the overall health of the camp community. Dr. Arbind* (name changed) leads the local medical contingent and has traveled to the clinic almost every day that it has been open.

“We have done very well in reducing the acute conditions. At first, so many of them came in, but now we are mostly managing chronic conditions. Cases of infectious diseases
are vastly reduced,” Arbind says.

Hannah takes votalsIn addition to diagnosis and treatment, the local staff and volunteer teams have prioritized health education for patients in areas of hygiene, infant care, managing diabetes, hypertension and asthma. They’ve also trained numerous Rohingya midwives, who are now attending births in homes and training other women within the camp. This knowledge will continue to serve the people long after the clinic has finished.

As the health situation has stabilized in the camp, and solid, accessible pathways are in place for medical treatment, Reach Beyond’s part in this clinic has come to completion. Our local partner will continue to adapt the scope of the facility to meet the changing needs in the camp, and we will continue to serve and minister to the Rohingya people in other diaspora groups around southeast Asia.

Dr. Arbind is grateful for the opportunity which our teams have had to serve together to help so many Rohingya in need.

“I think our patients say it all. Sometimes they share, when they come into the clinic, in their own language: ‘Thank you. I pray for you’. When we have touched someone’s life, when they are healed and they come back so thankful - it is a privilege.”

We would like to express our deep gratitude to each donor, prayer supporter, medical worker, recruiter, administrator, and all who have helped to make the medical clinic ministry possible. While we will never know the full impact of our presence in the camps, we do know that Jesus asks us to be a city on a hill, doing all that we can to shine His light and truth into the darkness (see Matthew 5:14-16). The rest is in His hands. Thank you for helping to bring light to this dark place.

Reach Beyond continues to do ministry with the Rohingya people. Presently, we are involved in English lessons for Rohingya refugees, a computer lab for e-learning, and home visits in a strategic diaspora location. We plan to expand the ministry to include home wellness visits for pregnant women and new mothers in 2020. Reach Beyond Australia broadcasts to the Rohingya and is developing radio programs in their language.