Health crisis faces the Rohingya people of Myanmar

After decades of discrimination, the Rohingya—a Muslim ethnic group living in Myanmar, Bangladesh, Malaysia and other southeast Asian countries—are experiencing a severe health crisis, according to a study co-authored by experts at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School.

In 1982, the Rohingya were stripped of citizenship in Myanmar (known as Burma before 1989), leaving them stateless. Since then they have faced a cycle of poor infant and child health, malnutrition, waterborne illness, and lack of obstetric care, according to the Lancet study. The researchers explore the Myanmar government’s poor treatment of the group and suggest steps that can be taken to address the health and human rights crisis.

Authors of the study included Jennifer Leaning and Arlan Fuller, director and executive director, respectively, of Harvard Chan School’s FXB Center for Health and Human Rights; and Harvard Medical School’s Syed Mahmood (first author) and Emily Wroe.

Read a New York Times article about the study: Rohingya Face Health Care Bias in Parts of Asia, Study Finds