Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Practices and Outreach Services in Settlements for Rohingya Population in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, 2018-2021

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Aug 5;19(15):9635. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19159635.


(1) Background: This study aimed to investigate the existing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) policy and practice of the study population and strengthen the evidence base by documenting changes in the WASH policy and practice over 3 years of the Rohingya refugee humanitarian crisis, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh. (2) Methods: A cross-sectional surveillance design was followed; the sampling of the study population included the Rohingya refugee population and neighborhood host nationals who required hospitalization soon after seeking care and enrolled into the diarrheal disease surveillance in diarrhea-treatment centers. Throughout the study period of 3 years, a total of 4550 hospitalized individuals constituted the study participants. (3) Results: Among the hospitalized Rohingya refugee population; the use of public tap water increased significantly from 38.5% in year 1 to 91% in year 3. The use of deep tube well water significantly changed from 31.3% to 8.2%, and the use of shallow tube well water reduced significantly from 25.8% to 0.4%. Households using water seal latrine were 13.3% in year 1 and increased significantly to 31.7% in year 3. ORS consumption at home changed significantly from 61.5% in the first year to 82.1% in third year. Multivariable analysis demonstrated patients' age groups at 5 to 14 years, and 15 years and more, drinking non-tube well water, soap use after using toilet, use of non-sanitary toilet facility, father's and mother's lack of schooling, and some and severe dehydration were significantly associated with the Rohingya refugee population enrolled into the diarrheal disease surveillance. (4) Conclusion: The findings indicate significant advances in WASH service delivery as well as outreach activities by aid agencies for the Rohingya refugee population living in settlements.

Keywords: Rohingya refugee population; WASH; case management; diarrheal disease; disease surveillance; emergency crisis settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Bangladesh / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diarrhea / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Hygiene
  • Refugees*
  • Sanitation*
  • Water


  • Water

Grant support

The study was funded by UNICEF Bangladesh (Grant number: GR 2230).