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M’sian-sponsored field hospital in Bangladesh to open this year

The Malaysian sponsored field hospital to help Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh will start operating by Dec 1 at the latest, said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

He said so far the initial location of the hospital construction is about 10 to 15 minutes in distance from the nearest refugee camp, but the actual location would be determined by the monitoring team that would be departing on Tuesday.

“It’s in Chittagong but closer to Cox’s Bazar, and at the moment I was told 10 to 15 minutes from the refugee camp but the actual location will be determined by the recce team. After that we will announce the actual placement in specific terms.

“We have the forward team to look at it in more detail, there may be some specific adjustments that we will make, because we want to prioritise on hygiene and I have leave it to our experts to make a decision, this is not a matter of policy, this is operational,” he told a media conference here today.

He was met after launching the field hospital building and operating mission to help the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and monitoring the dry-run of the hospital operation at the Tunku Mizan Zainal Abidin Military Hospital here.

Also present were Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysian Armed Forces chief Raja Mohamed Afffandi Raja Mohamed Nor, MKN director-general Zulkifeli Mohd Zin and Health director-general Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah.

Elaborating further, the prime minister said logistical support for the hospital were scheduled to be flown to Bangladesh on Nov 20 while the first batch of the medical team would leave the next day.

He said it was proposed that the field hospital, which is of specialist hospital standard, operate for three months.

He said the Health Ministry would be in charge of operations with help from volunteers while ATM staff would set up the hospital.

“This is a joint effort and a manifestation of the Malaysian government and people to champion the welfare and interests of the Rohingya who are suffering oppression and persecution,” he said, adding that the hospital’s priority would be care for babies and children.

Najib said the hospital would be fully equipped including for orthopaedic surgery and when up would create “a very strong presence of Malaysia.”

“This is probably the biggest help that any other country can also do. I have said before that on the Rohingya issue we are at the forefront, not only in terms of diplomacy at various fora but also in the form of assistance.

“We have despatched aid like food, blankets, towels and other essentials but this time we are setting up this facility which will be very meaningful (to the refugees),” he said.

The 100-bed hospital with separate wards for men and woman has an X-ray room and provides basic neonatal care as well as a delivery room.

- Bernama

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