Malnutrition, Anemia Among Rohingya Children in Bangladesh Refugee Camp

Bottom Line: The pervasiveness of malnutrition and anemia among Rohingya children in a refugee camp in Bangladesh exceeds emergency thresholds.

Why the Research Is Interesting: Nearly 700,000 ethnic minority Rohingya people crossed the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh after violence escalated in Rakhine State in Myanmar in August 2017. They joined an estimated 200,000 who had fled in earlier waves since the 1990s. The populations of two refugee camps and surrounding makeshift settlements have more than doubled and concerns have been raised about the nutritional status of the Rohingya children.

Who and When: 269 children between the ages of 6 months and 5 years in the Kutupalong refugee camp in October 2017

What (Study Measures): Weight-for-height and height-for-age scores were calculated to assess malnutrition; anemia screening also was done

How (Study Design): This was a population-representative survey.

Authors: Eva Leidman, M.S.P.H., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, and coauthors

Results: 

Study Limitations: A small sample size was used to provide rapid results in the context of an emergency; nutritional outcomes may differ in other refugee camps.

Study Conclusions: The pervasiveness of global acute malnutrition and anemia exceeded emergency thresholds of 15 percent and 40 percent, respectively, in a sample of Rohingya children in the Kutupalong refugee camp.

For more details and to read the full study, please visit the For The Media website.

(doi:10.1001/jama.2018. 2405)