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Doctors Without Borders says more than 50pc Rohingya women seek antenatal care, urges govt to provide full care

Publish date: Sat, 02 Dec 2023, 05:39 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Doctors Without Borders (MSF) expressed their concern with the medical healthcare for Rohingya refugees as it mostly involved adolescent girls.

In Malaysia, MSF clinics received more than 80 per cent of women patients aged 12 and older, according to MSF Amsterdam deputy medical director Mohana Amirtharajah.

From there, she said that over 50 per cent of the women who visited the clinic sought antenatal care.

“And if (we) specifically take the category of adolescent girls and see why they are coming to clinics over 50 per cent are for antenatal care.

“And I think it's hard to imagine a more vulnerable group than pregnant adolescent girls in a foreign country,” she said.

She added that the adolescent girls who came to the clinic claimed to be married and were accompanied by their male relatives.

In a press conference this morning, the international medical humanitarian non-government organisation (NGO) also hoped for proper antenatal care access for pregnant teenage girls.

MSF Malaysia head of mission Froukje Pelsma said they found several NGOs interested in helping but their main goal is to get the government to work together with their organisation.

“We hope that they get full access to antenatal care and to a pregnancy workbook or the pregnancy booklet which is very expensive for them.

“But we also work together with other NGOs, to show them so we have a kind of model that works we reach out to the community to ensure that the women are coming to us,” she said.

She believed that Malaysia would be able to execute this as an upper middle income country.

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