By Angela Hill, IFRC

In Hakimpara camp in southern Bangladesh, people are lining up every day to see a doctor at a mobile health clinic run by the Japanese Red Cross Society.

“It’s terrible. Many patients visit us with diseases caused by unhygienic conditions and some patients visit complaining of weakness because they haven’t had any food,” said Dr Nobuhiro Komiya, an infectious disease specialist.

“Every day we have a long line in front of the clinic, its crowded with many people looking for care.”

He listed some of the issues people are experiencing: skin infections, coughs and breathing problems and diarrhoea. Since early last month more than 515,000 people have crossed into Bangladesh, fleeing violence in northern areas of Myanmar’s Rakhine State. Many have health care needs.

The clinic operates as a partnership with the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society. On any day by 2 pm the two doctors, two nurses, two midwives and a number of local volunteers have seen more than 100 patients. A mother-of-six was among them this week. Her youngest, a two-month-old, had a temperature and was having trouble breathing.

A nurse with the Japanese Red Cross takes the temperature of the baby. Photo: Angela Hill/IFRC

Komiya believed it could be pneumonia.

“Definitely she needs to be hospitalized,” he said.

The hospital is more than an hour away. The mother didn’t have the money for transport back to the camp, so she left her remaining children in the care of their father, with no clear picture of when she would see them again.

Komiya is looking forward to a Red Cross field hospital set to open soon. He said that will make a difference for the mobile teams being able to refer people for more treatment.

This mobile medical team as well as another from Japan and one from the Qatar Red Crescent Society are working alongside Bangladesh Red Crescent medics and volunteers in camps and makeshift settlements. Together, they have treated more than 4,000 people so far.

The mother holds her baby while waiting at the Japanese Red Cross mobile clinic. Photo: Angela Hill/IFRC