• Improve the level of awareness on health and hygiene practices. • Improve access to medical services for detainees. • Improve the health status and psychosocial well-being of children in Belantik Detention Camp

Project Partners Royal Malaysian Immigration, Malaysian Ministry of Health.


The Malaysian Medical Belantik Detention Centre Program was completed within
3 months with comprehensive services provided to all detainees in accordance to
their need and relevance. Overall, there are two prominent highlights and innovations were identifed as critical success factors for this project:
• Behavioral Change and Communication(BCC):

Approach for a sustainable and effective health and hygiene practice. To achieve this, the team identifed 5 stages in providing those services which are:

  • Unaware: Lack of awareness on health and hygiene condition has put
    the detainees at risk of getting and transmitting communicable diseases
    such as TB, skin infections and other infectious diseases.
  • Aware: MERCY Malaysia has conducted Health and Hygiene
    education sessions to all detainees to improve their awareness on the
    importance of hygiene and health. The sessions were conducted in
    groups covered the crucial topic such as risk of TB, skin infection and
    personal hygiene care. A health screening session conducted by
    volunteer doctors has also provided then with some sense of awareness
    of their health condition.
  • Prepare: Multiple language module
    on Personal hygiene care and infectious diseases were developed
    and distributed. In addition, a series of Training of Trainers (TOT) to the
    detainee representatives were conducted to ensure sustainable
    awareness even after the program ends.
  • Action: Personal hygiene kits and disinfectant material (soaps,
    shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrush) were distributed to
    all detainees every two weeks. In addition, medications mainly for skin
    problems were also provided during the health screening.
  • Sustain: Disinfectants items and cleaning equipment were distributed
    for them to conduct series of periodical spring cleaning session.
    All detainees were also distributed with standardized clothes. A set
    of washing machines and exhaust fans were equipped for their
    sustainable utilization. Moreover, a medical room was fully equipped
    with small medical equipment and medications to facilitate the process
    of maintaining good hygiene and health condition.
  • Multi-purpose Space for Psychosocial
    Activities: A sustainable space for psychosocial activities was established
    and equipped at Belantik Detention Centre which will not only act as a
    playground for children and detainees, but also as an assembly point.
Locations Belantik, Kedah
Period 1st April - 30th June 2016

• Health screening was conducted for 1,810 detainees in the center (exact number of the detainees could not be determined due to the movements including release and transfer). • Medical room was equipped with small medical equipment and supply of medicine. • 280 packs of nutritional supplements were distributed to 102 children daily. • Health and hygiene education sessions were conducted for all detainees including provision of hygiene items, personal dignity kits and improved sanitation conditions. • Females and infants received Personal Dignity Kits on a needs basis. • All cells received disinfectant items. • 20 sets of drinking water dispensers were distributed at the male and female cells. • Installation of ventilation system for both male and female cells. • Installed 12 units of washing machines. • Psychosocial activities for two hours daily eg: religious classes were conducted for children aged between 12 to 8 years old in the detention center, increasing the motivation level and self esteem of the children. • A Children Friendly Space (CFS) was built in the Detention Centre, which served as a playground for the children as well as a safe space for detainees in the case of emergency eg: fire and riot.

NO. OF BENEFICIARIES Estimated 1,810 detainees

In May 2015, some 1,600 refugees and migrants form Myanmar and Bangladesh were estimated to have departed by sea from the Bay of Bengal in the second half of 2015, 96% less than in the second half of 2014. In total, approximately 33,600 refugees and migrants travelled through South-East Asia in mixed maritime movements in 2015. Boats carrying tracked and smuggled individuals from Bangladesh and Myanmar arrived in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia in what has been termed as the Bay of Bengal crisis. During that time, those who landed in Malaysia were then held in the Belantik Immigration Detention Centre while UNHCR advocated for their release. A majority of the Boat People was then released by UNHCR in July 2016. With the number of detainees reaching more than a thousand at any one time, and the main focus of the staff officers were to oversee the safety and security of the detainees and overall facility, the detention centre was facing manpower shortages to care for the detainees’ overall wellbeing. Although the overall hygiene in the cell blocks improved, MERCY Malaysia took the initiative to help improve the living situation of the detainees as well as address their immediate needs in terms of their health and hygiene conditions.