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On the Frontlines: Preventing Coronavirus in Cox's Bazar

Updated June 2, 2020

COVID-19 continues to sweep global news headlines, with updates each hour informing us of the latest number of reported cases and quarantine measures. Everywhere you turn, people are stocking up on essentials, working remotely, or even on lockdown. In fact, it’s hard not to talk about the coronavirus. During such times, many people can feel anxiety about the future.

Yet, our God is sovereign. The Bible says that He knows every day of our lives, even before we were born. Nothing escapes His sight or is out of His control. As the world despairs, we have hope, and we are called to extend this hope to others. Worldwide, Food for the Hungry (FH) is monitoring the situation and engaged on the frontlines with shielding vulnerable communities from a potential coronavirus outbreak. In fact, FH is doubling down on our health and hygiene messaging in our fields—some of the same messaging you are likely receiving in inboxes about the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines on washing your hands. Here’s how.

Preventative Measures in Cox’s Bazar

In places like refugee camps, crowded conditions and poor hygiene can increase infection rates. FH is working with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar, running four existing health clinics and training community health workers alongside partner Medical Teams International to anticipate any pivots towards COVID-19 care. As of June 2, there are 26 positive cases of COVID-19 in the refugee camp.

Photo credit: Nihab Rahman

Woman in pink headscarf reaches for a box of medicine in Rohingya refugee camp, where FH is working to prevent coronavirus in Cox's Bazar

Photo credit: Nihab Rahman


As a result, FH has been working with Bangladesh‘s Ministry of Health and UNHCR. Just last month, FH built and inaugurated a new Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI) isolation and treatment center. This treatment center can house 50 patients and will help COVID-19 positive patients suffering from moderate to severe symptoms.

In addition, FH is deploying additional, preventative measures to pre-empt further cases, which would be devastatingly disastrous for the vulnerable population. Together, we are ensuring the provision of supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer. Preparations are in place for quarantine procedures, the lab capacity to test cases, and potential additional house isolation units. In the meantime, community health workers are also sharing key health and hygiene practices in ways that combat stigma around the coronavirus, but without inciting fear.

This Cascade Group model—in which health and hygiene messaging is taught and “cascaded” through community members—has long been a core part of FH’s health programming around the world, preventing diseases such as cholera, diphtheria, and more.

Photo credit: Nihab Rahman

Photo credit: Nihab Rahman

A Prayer for the Most Vulnerable

Amidst this global pandemic, FH is urging further commitment to fighting this disease. Now is the time to step up and stop further COVID-19 outbreaks before it impacts communities living in extreme poverty. Especially in the remote areas where FH works, access to health facilities is often limited. In crowded refugee camps or dense cities, a widespread coronavirus outbreak could increase strains on already under-resourced doctors, hospitals, and supplies.

Will you say a prayer with us for the healing and peace of all impacted by the COVID-19 coronavirus?

Dear Heavenly Father, 

Lord, you are the healer of all and you fill our hearts with hope through your love. We come to you in prayer today to ask for your protection and healing hands in the midst of the global spread of coronavirus.

We pray that you heal those who have fallen sick with this illness. May they regain their health and recover quickly. We also pray for those who have already lost loved ones to this disease. Fill them with your peace and protection as they mourn.

Please help us come to you for hope and guidance during this time of uncertainty. It’s through your grace that we can remain calm and do what is necessary to keep ourselves and our neighbors healthy and encouraged. We ask for your peace in place of our anxiety.


Landscape with tents and river in Rohingya refugee camp, where FH is working to prevent coronavirus in Cox's Bazar

As FH works to prevent coronavirus in Cox’s Bazar and beyond, please prayerfully consider partnering with us to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Your donation will allow us to reach the most vulnerable communities with life-saving health and hygiene programming. Give today!


Continue Reading:

4 Ways to Pray in Times of Uncertainty

Photo Essay: Capturing Sacred Moments in Cox’s Bazar

How a Garden Became a Philippines Coronavirus Response