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A second chance in Cox’s Bazar

17 May 2021, Impact of Our Work

Baby Jakia is protected from the childhood illness that killed her brother  

Three years ago, a heavily pregnant Ummay* took the treacherous journey to Bangladesh. With her life in danger as a Rohingya in Myanmar, there was no other choice. What she dreamt of was a better, safer life for her and her family – a dream that would be possible for her daughter Jakia*.

Ummay undertook a seven-day journey across mountains and rivers, facing gunfire, and surviving on dirty water and whatever food she could scavenge.
 
“The journey was horrifying for me as I was pregnant. I stumbled and fell down so many times during the journey,” she recounts. “I had severe pain in my lower belly and surrounding area. I can still remember how people walked on me when I fell down during the journey. I was so worried about whether we would be able to make it to Bangladesh or not."
                                          
“We could not eat when we were hungry, could not drink when we were thirsty. We had to drink water from the canals and rivers on the way. We had to stay deep in the jungle at night where the wild animals live. Many people died while climbing the mountains. The lucky people like us survived.”

Birth and death in the refugee camps

On arriving in Bangladesh, Ummay gave birth to her first child, a boy. Tragically, her baby developed pneumonia and died a few days later. “I think the lack of maternal care when I was pregnant [the first time] and the difficult journey to Bangladesh contributed to my baby’s premature birth and then his death from pneumonia,” she says.
 
A few months after the devastating death, Ummay found she was pregnant again. This time, she was supported through her pregnancy with regular health check-ups, through Save the Children’s health centre in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp.
 
“I used to come for monthly check-ups in Save the Children’s hospital and I followed all the advice I received,” says Ummay.
 
Save the Children has eight health posts across the camp which houses close to a million Rohingya refugees.

The health posts offer comprehensive primary health care services, including maternal, newborn and child health; adolescent sexual and reproductive health; and mental health and psychosocial support. We also have a 20-bed primary health care centre offering maternity services.

A healthy daughter ready to take on the world 

When her baby daughter Jakia was born, Ummay knew she couldn’t lose a second child. She got Jakia vaccinated on time and attended post-natal check-ups for herself.
After giving birth to my daughter, she received all the vaccinations at the right time. Because of the vaccinations, she has not had any severe diseases since her birth. She is perfectly well and healthy

Ummay

Both mother and daughter were vaccinated against pneumonia, the disease which had robbed them of their son and brother, as well as measles and other diseases which could easily take another life.
 
“We have received many services from this hospital (Save the Children’s health post),” says Ummay. “Whenever any member of my family gets sick, we come here for treatment and have always received a good result. We are happy about the services we get from this hospital. We never received services like vaccinations and maternal care or free treatment in Myanmar. We had no idea about these services as we rarely visited hospitals in Myanmar.”
 
Jakia is only 18 months old, but Ummay has high hopes for her future. “I wish to educate my daughter when she grows up. There is no hope for her but education. Education is the only way that can help her to get a job and live a good life.”

*Names have been changed to protect identities.
 

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