Shahina: Giving Health to Rohingya Refugees

21 September 2018

“I love to help people.”

“I go from house to house, visiting refugees to make sure they are healthy. Some days it is very hot in the camps. Other days it rains a lot. That is why I always carry an umbrella with me. I have to climb hills sometimes to reach a house, but I don’t mind. I get to know the people very well. I have seen children grow up, others get cured and play, mothers get pregnant. When I enter their homes they call me by my name: ‘Shahina … Shahina’.

“I see about 40 houses in one day.”

“I am trained to screen patients for tuberculosis and malaria. I also look for other diseases such as pneumonia, diarrhea, diphtheria. I take the register book with me, write down the date and ask all members of the household if anybody has a fever or has had a cough for days. I also ask if there are women pregnant in the house. I tell them to come to the health center, where we have doctors and medicines. If I find a suspected case of malaria I do a rapid diagnostic test or I take a blood slide, and carry it to the microscopic center. For the tuberculosis suspects, I bring them the pots for the cough samples and then I take them to the laboratory. If somebody is diagnosed with tuberculosis, we ask a neighbor or the ‘majid’ (the community leader) to make sure the person takes the drugs every day.”

“I always wanted to be a nurse.”

“I have three sisters and one brother. My dream is to go to nursing school and become a nurse one day. I get a lot of satisfaction when I help people and see them get healthy. I want to continue helping the Rohingya refugees when I become a nurse. They are helpless, they came from a long way, they are desperate. They need help, and they have particular needs. I can understand their dialect and I know their traditions.”