"It's good when husbands listen to this information together with their wives. It speeds up their decision-making." - Community Health Worker | Image courtesy of IDEO.org
In 2017, 650,000 Rohingya refugees fled to Bangladesh in an attempt to escape widespread violence and persecution by the Myanmar army. Most walked for days, even weeks, before finding shelter in the sprawling refugee settlements in the Cox’s Bazaar region of Bangladesh.
Many refugees lost family members to the violence, saw their homes destroyed, and lost all of their belongings. Living in humanitarian settings has a devastating effect on families, but women are particularly vulnerable; they face significant hardships trying to prevent unwanted pregnancy due to changing family structures, sexual violence, and disrupted health services—including sexual and reproductive health care.
In response to the need for sexual and reproductive health services, the Government of Bangladesh partnered with national and international non-governmental organizations, including Ipas (a U.S.- based reproductive health and rights organization) to meet the needs of Rohingya women. Clinics were established, and paramedics, midwives, and doctors were trained to provide reproductive health services. As more clinics were established and trainings added, the attention turned to how to expand reproductive health services, including health information for Rohingya women.