TİKA Volunteers in Bangladesh
Turkish medical students in Bangladesh as part of the 2019 Experience Sharing Program organized by Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TİKA) took part in general clinical-general surgical practices with experienced Turkish doctors at the Turkish Field Hospital in the Cox's Bazar camp which provides service to Arakanese Muslims and the locals. Each student took up alternating tasks in the hospital's units.
Chief Physician of the Field Hospital Dr. Kadir Serkan Türel stated that 1,000 patients were treated daily at the clinic, with a tent area of 300 square meters and a bamboo area of 350 square meters. Established on an area of 3.5 decares, the hospital has 20 beds, 10 for women and 10 for men, along with specialists in anesthesia, orthopedics, general surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, and pediatric surgery.
Explaining that the Turkish field hospital is the only clinic in the camp that conducts circumcisions, Chief Physician Türel stated that nearly 550 circumcisions were completed in the last month. Türel expressed that the experience the medical students visiting from Turkey as part of the Experience Sharing Program gained during the general clinical-general surgical applications they took part in as observers together with experienced doctors in the field hospital would provide guidance in their profession.
TİKA Volunteers Distribute 5,000 Packages of Food and Spices to Arakanese Muslims
On the fourth and fifth day of the program, the volunteer students took part in the distribution of food and spices as part of TİKA's humanitarian assistance efforts oriented towards Arakanese Muslims. The distribution of 5,000 food and spice packages, each containing powdered pepper, turmeric, pasta, garlic, sugar, salt, ginger, chickpeas, dried fish, potatoes, and cumin, to 5,000 families consisting of roughly 19,000 individuals was carried out in the TİKA distribution area at the camp numbered 16 in Cox's Bazar. Students taking part in the distribution made use of ration cards containing information about the number of family members, house numbers, and previous aid, which were printed by TİKA in order to prevent confusion during the distribution. Students took part in the distribution of food and spice packages to Arakanese Muslims for two days by recording the necessary information on the ration cards brought by the families.
Following the distribution of food and spice packages, the students went to the children's park constructed by TİKA in the camp and played with Arakanese children. The students also visited the steel bridge which was constructed by TİKA on the road in a stream bed that was flooded due to the monsoon rains and connects camps numbered 2 and 3, and which significantly facilitates transportation. On the last day of the program, the TİKA volunteers went from Cox’s Bazar to the capital Dhaka and visited Turkey's Ambassador to Dhaka Devrim Öztürk together with TİKA's Dhaka Coordinator Dr. İsmail Gündoğdu.
Kadir Varlı, a third-year student at Sivas Cumhuriyet University who took part in the Experience Sharing Program, said the following: "We were keeping track of developments abroad through the press. However, thanks to the Experience Sharing Program, we had the opportunity to experience them first-hand. I am very happy to have taken part in TİKA's distribution of aid to our Arakanese brothers and sisters through the project, and I witnessed once again the generosity of the Turkish people." Moreover, Muhammed Şamil Sağlam, a fifth-year student in the Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine, expressed that he realized something could definitely be done for the Arakanese Muslims escaping oppression and seeking refuge in Bangladesh despite their being on the thin line between life and death and the harsh conditions, and that he was proud to see a helping hand from Turkey stretching so far.