A Rapid Assessment of Health Literacy and Health Status of Rohingya Refugees Living in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh Following the August 2017 Exodus from Myanmar: A Cross-Sectional Study

Abstract: Background: A survey was conducted among Rohingya refugees to assess their overall health literacy and health status.

Methods: A questionnaire was developed to conduct face to face
interviews among Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in November–December 2017. Families were selected using convenience sampling from four large refugee camps. Results: Primary respondents aged 10–90 (median 32) years, 56% male, representing 1634 families were interviewed and provided data of themselves and 6268 additional family members, 4163 (66.4%) of whom were children aged <18 years. Of all, only 736 (45%) primary respondents knew how to appropriately treat diarrhoea, 882 (54%) relied on unqualified village “doctors” for treatment, 547 (33.5%) reported a family member suffering injuries in the previous six months, with 8% (42/547) of injuries fatal. One hundred and ninety two (11.8%) primary respondents also reported deaths within their family in the preceding 12 months, with the majority (70% [134/192]) occurring in males, and 44% (85/192) of all deaths were claimed to be homicidal. Conclusion: This survey highlights overall poor health literacy, limited access to qualified health care, and a high rate of injuries and assaults among Rohingyas. However, these data come from an anecdotal survey that excluded some sensitive but important questions.

Keywords: Bangladesh; health literacy; health status; Myanmar; Rakhine; refugee; Rohingya