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Interview with Jean-Loup Gouot on the COVID-19 pandemic

Health Protect vulnerable populations Supporting the Displaced Populations/Refugees
Bangladesh

Jean-Loup Gouot, Director of Humanity & Inclusion (HI) in Bangladesh, talks about the impact of COVID-19 in the country and outlines the risks of this epidemic, particularly for Rohingya refugees.

Rohingya displaced family

Rohingya displaced family | © M. A. Islam / HI

How has COVID-19 affected our operations?

We are adapting our local awareness-raising and information activities to the virus and promoting good hygiene, prevention and protection practices.
We continue to provide health referral inside refugee camps and host communities in Cox’s Bazar, in the north of the country, and areas around Chittagong.
We also still provide mental health assistance, such as psychosocial support, protection etc., and logistics support to our humanitarian partners to help store, transport and distribute foodstuffs.

What messages are we conveying to local populations?

Our messages cover good hygiene practices, like washing hands, adopting prevention measures at home and in the community, limiting how often people travel and move around etc.

What are HI's COVID-19 priorities in Bangladesh?

We want to build on and expand our awareness-raising and information activities, and support medical referral – that is, referring identified individuals to partner organisations who can help them. Over the long term, we aim to scale up our assistance to the country’s poorest populations, since many still live in extreme poverty and risk being hit by the economic crisis predicted to follow the current situation. Their living conditions could be severely affected.

What about HI’s field teams?

A third of our teams are currently available. Other HI colleagues have been placed on standby and are ready to help if we need to beef up our emergency response. Our teams are putting in place essential activities such as awareness-raising, health referral to partner organisations, protection for the most vulnerable, psychosocial support etc.

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