Caring for Rohingya Refugees With Diphtheria and Measles: On the Ethics of Humanity
JournalAnnals of Family Medicine
AbstractHundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees arrived in Bangladesh within weeks in fall 2017, quickly forming large settlements without any basic support. Humanitarian first responders provided basic necessities including food, shelter, water, sanitation, and health care. However, the challenge before them—a vast camp ravaged by diphtheria and measles superimposed on a myriad of common pathologies—was disproportionate to the resources. The needs were endless, resources finite, inadequacies abundant, and premature death inevitable. While such confines force unimaginable choices in resource allocation, they do not define the humanitarian purpose—to alleviate suffering and not allow such moral violations to become devoid of their horrifying meaning. As humanitarian workers, we maintain humanity when we care, commit, and respond to moral injustices. This refusal to abandon others in desperate situations is an attempt to rectify injustices through witnessing and solidarity. When people are left behind, we must not leave them alone.
PublisherAnnals of Family Medicine