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Post a reply: Non-communicable diseases and food assistance and Rohingya refugees

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Dear collegaues, I am posting a question from a colleague working in Bangladesh:

My name is Nadirah, from Malaysia. I work with IFRC APRO as Regional community based health officer.

I have a question. It's more for management of NCD but it is quite related to Nutrition as well. Nowadays a lot of disasters are happening in urban areas and we are seeing increasing of burden of NCD during emergencies compared to trauma, etc. On top of that, there is no age boundaries when it comes to NCD. We can see young teenagers diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 

The NCD protocol in emergencies is to treat people who are pre-diagnosed with such condition. But, for Rohingya refugee crisis, Rohingyas did not have access to healthcare prior in Myanmar and mostly are diagnosed now in the Bangladesh post-exodus. In a normal setting, when someone is diagnosed with diabetes (for example), the first line of treatment is change in lifestyle. We would advise for diet change, exercise, etc. It feels like this kind of advice is for very “privileged”.  Rohingya refugees walk a lot in the camp already (and we tell them to exercise more?) and they do not have options to choose their food (a lot of NGOs gave rice and that is all they eat). I was wondering if there is development of nutrition program related to NCD and what context-appropriate advice should be given in these circumstances? And what addiitonal resources would be needed to appropriately address those with NCDs?

Kind regards, Nadirah Babji

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