Rohingya response: Safe and dignified burials and COVID-19
The estimated 855,000 Rohingya refugees that currently reside in the southern region of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh have been identified as highly vulnerable to COVID-19. Lessons from previous epidemic responses, as well as reports from other countries currently battling COVID-19 outbreaks, make it clear that safe and dignified burials are an essential component of containing the outbreak. The aim of this report is to highlight the need to ensure containment of COVID-19 is aligned with the maintenance of important cultural and traditional practices, and the critical role that community engagement plays in achieving that objective. It provides an overview of current burial practices and traditions among Muslim Rohingya and considers the potentials changes that could be promoted, in line with the Government of Bangladesh, Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR), Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and WHO Bangladesh joint guidelines on “Safe Burial/ Funeral/Management of Body of a Patient Died of COVID-19”. This guidance is designed for health workers; specific guidance for a camp setting has not yet been developed.