Jubaida fears that should a widespread outbreak of coronavirus occur in the camps, the cramped conditions, in which physical distancing is almost impossible, will help the virus to rapidly spread amongst the population in a short amount of time and that this combined with a lack of specialized medical equipment will likely lead many to die, most notably the camps older population.
But these conditions are not the only ones putting the camp’s refugees at heightened risk of catching coronavirus. There is also a lack of facilities for carrying out coronavirus testing in the camp and it is difficult for medical personnel to refer suspected patients to referral centres which are situated very far away from the camp.
“As there isn’t enough medical care in the camp, many elderly people may not be able to survive an outbreak. I tell people to seek treatment so they don’t infect their families,” Jubaida says.
Misinformation about coronavirus and stigma attached to people suspected of having it is also prevalent in the camp and something which community health workers are actively working to counter.
“There is a fear that people will get a bad reaction from their family and the wider community if they get diagnosed with coronavirus, which may lead them to hide symptoms and not seek treatment,” Jubaida explains.
However, because Jubaida herself is a Rohingya refugee, she has been able to gain the trust of her community which has proven key to their acceptance of her advice about coronavirus.