Immunization services begin slow recovery from COVID-19 disruptions, though millions of children remain at risk from deadly diseases – WHO, UNICEF, Gavi
--- While immunization services have started to recover from disruptions caused by COVID-19, millions of children remain vulnerable to deadly diseases, the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance warned today during World Immunization Week , highlighting the urgent need for a renewed global commitment to improve vaccination access and uptake. “Vaccines will help us end the COVID-19 pandemic but only if we ensure fair access for all countries, and build strong systems to deliver them,” said
Ukraine to receive $2.8 million worth of cold chain equipment to support COVID vaccination
- The Ministry of Health of Ukraine in partnership with UNICEF, and with financial support from the US Government through USAID, starts an unprecedented upgrade to the cold chain for vaccines at the national level, in the context of COVID pandemic. To meet immediate needs, a total of $2.8 million provided by USAID will be used by UNICEF to procure WHO-prequalified passive cooling equipment to ensure safe and efficient transport and temporary storage of vaccines for primary health care facilities and mobile teams. The USAID donation will provide equipment to some 3,100 vaccination sites nationwide, including 1,034 sites based at primary healthcare facilities and nearly 800 mobile teams. The equipment will include: 5,643 cold boxes, 8,100 vaccine carriers, 197,730 ice-packs, 27,486 temperature monitoring devices The first batch of equipment arrived on September 30, and includes 2,700 vaccine carriers that can keep COVID-19 vaccines between +2 to +8°C. This equipment can also be used in the future for routine vaccines included in the national immunization schedule. “Every adult person in Ukraine has a chance to get a vaccination against COVID-19 today. We have enough vaccines to immunize 70 percent of the population by the end of the year. The Ministry is expecting to receive more COVID-19 vaccines in October-November. We are grateful to partners helping us ensure safe transport and temporary storage of the larger amount of vaccines we are receiving,” said Ihor Kuzin, Deputy Minister of Health, Chief State Sanitary Doctor of Ukraine. “The U.S. Government, as the largest donor to COVAX, is proud to partner with the Ministry of Health, UNICEF, and the international community in this historic effort to rapidly scale up COVID-19 vaccines. This investment in Ukraine's cold chain system will help ensure that vaccination sites across the country can transport and store vaccines at the proper temperature. This will increase Ukrainians' access to safe, high-quality COVID 19 vaccines - and will strengthen the national immunization system,"
Teachers from the Guria region are getting COVID-19 vaccination as part of a joint campaign by UNICEF and the Government
UNICEF continues to engage educators and school administrators in the COVID-19 vaccination programme. More than 200 teachers from Guria region learned about the benefits and the importance of COVID-19 vaccination through information sessions organized by UNICEF in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science and the National Center for Disease Control and Public Health. The sessions were led by prominent doctors and public health experts and were attended by the educators from Ozurgeti, Lanchkhuti and Chokhatauri municipalities. As frontline workers, it is important that teachers have access to vaccinations for safe school reopening. The sessions were led by a new group of prominent medical experts, including: Maia Gotua Prof. MD. Ph.D. General Director of the Center of Allergy and Immunology, Vice President of Georgian Association of Allergology and Clinical Immunology; Mamuka Bokuchava Prof. MD. Ph.D. Vascular Surgeon, Deputy Director Of Bokhua Memorial Cardiovascular Center; Nino Kiknadze Associate Prof. MD. Ph.D. Director Of Clinical Services at Raymann Clinic; Levan Vashakidze MD. Anesthesiologist, Head of Anesthesia departments of Bokhua Memorial Cardiovascular Center and the New Hospital. UNICEF Deputy Representative Amy Clancy addressed the teachers focusing on the importance of safe reopening of schools. During the sessions the doctors and healthcare professionals covered a variety of topics including: COVID-19 immunization trends in Georgia and current situation regarding the virus; the importance of immunization and COVID-19 complications, including among children; vaccination of people with chronic diseases and allergy conditions. The teachers were invited to get vaccinated on the spot, following the informational sessions. Most teachers participating in the event got their vaccines. Since May 2021, UNICEF has organized 19 similar meetings in different regions of Georgia for local community leaders, including teachers, doctors, religious leaders and tourism sector representatives, to engage them in the national vaccination programme. More than 1000 teachers got vaccinated following the sessions, on the same day. The teachers have since spread information about the benefits of vaccination in their communities, resulting in higher rates of vaccination. As a result of joint interventions, as of 31 August 2021, the number of teachers fully vaccinated against COVID-19 increased from 9% to 46%. UNICEF, in partnership with the Ministry of Education and Science and with support from NCDC, plans to organize 42 meetings for more than 3000 teachers to be vaccinated by the end of the year. Schools are central to children’s development, safety, and well-being. The risks to children, while they are out of school, are greater than the risks to them while in school, for three key reasons: The impact of school closures on students’ learning, health, and well-being at critical developmental stages have profound repercussions on children, their families, and their economy. Many of these children will never catch up. With risk mitigation measures in place, schools are safe environments for children. The latest evidence shows that schools do not drive the spread of COVID-19 in the community and that COVID-19 does not pose a high risk to children. School closures have the greatest negative impact on the most vulnerable children, those who are far less likely to have access to remote learning and more likely to be exposed to violence, abuse, neglect, child labor, and other risks. Closing schools must be a temporary measure of last resort in pandemic response; and schools must be the first to open and the last to close. Assessing the risk of transmission at the local level should be a key determinant in decisions on school operations. Teacher is getting her COVID-19 vaccination after the session held by UNICEF and the Government. UNICEF/GEO-2021/Kvachadze
UNICEF engages medical students in a country-wide campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccination
Students specializing in the field of medicine from three different universities in Georgia will engage in a 6-month campaign, organized by UNICEF and the Association of Immunization and Vaccinology (AIVA) with support from USAID, to share information on and to promote the COVID-19 vaccination programme. Memorandums will be signed with the Tbilisi State University, the Tbilisi State Medical University, the Batumi State University and the International University Batumi to engage students in disseminating information about COVID-19 vaccines. The campaign, with the slogan “ You can end this pandemic!”, will target young people in selected regions and share evidence-based information on COVID-19, its possible complications and prevention measures, and will focus on why vaccination against COVID-19 is important. With a network of medical students, a medical students league will be established. The league members or “med-iators” will first undergo a full day training to improve their understanding about the existing vaccination process and the available vaccines. Among the trainers are: Maia Gotua, Prof. M.D. Ph.D. General Director of the Center of Allergy and Immunology, Vice President of Georgian Association of Allergology and Clinical Immunology; Archil Marshania M.D. Anesthesiologist and Tamar Ratishvili M.D. member of the vaccine research group at Mayo Clinic. After the initial training, the student league will be regularly updated on the latest information on COVID-19 vaccines and statistics, which the league will use for further communication with the communities. The students will go on field trips to hard-to-reach villages of mountainous Adjara, as well as ethnic minority communities in Samtskhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions. During the visits, the students will set up a visually prominent stand in the center of the village, where local population, especially young people, will receive latest and reliable information about COVID-19 vaccination. The students will also assist the local population in registering for vaccination and will distribute additional information, such as brochures and fliers in Armenian and Azerbaijani languages, targeting ethnic minorities. UNICEF has been actively supporting the Government in raising awareness about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination in Georgia. Since May 2021, UNICEF has organized more than 50 informational meetings on COVID-19 vaccination across Georgia with local community leaders, teachers, nurses, doctors, religious leaders and tourism sector representatives to engage them in the national vaccination programme. UNICEF engages medical students in a country-wide campaign to promote COVID-19 vaccination UNICEF/GEO-2021/Valishvili
UNICEF procures healthcare supplies worth over KGS 12 million to help the Kyrgyz Republic respond to COVID-19
delivered personal protective equipment worth over KGS 12,000,000 to the Ministry of Health and Social Development. UNICEF provided 8,000 medical masks, 12,500 pairs of nitrile gloves for vaccinators, 20,000 pairs of gynaecological gloves, and 11,350 units of antiseptics for healthcare institutions and medical workers. UNICEF procured Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) on behalf of the Ministry through its Supply Division based in Copenhagen, hosting the world's largest humanitarian warehouse. The Ministry of Health and Social Development will use these essential supplies to support its ongoing vaccination efforts to respond to the pandemic and protect frontline healthcare workers. Gynaecological gloves are also being delivered to maternity facilities in Bishkek, Osh and Batken to improve the safety of mothers, newborns and medical staff. In addition, UNICEF procured 890,000 medical masks to ensure safe vaccination against COVID-19. " UNICEF is working around the clock to deliver essential supplies globally to respond to COVID-19. It includes the provision of vaccines, syringes, immunization equipment, medicines and personal protective equipment. In close collaboration with the Government of Kyrgyzstan, we are providing these protective supplies to maternities and hospitals so that everyone can be protected ", said Yulia Oleinik, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Kyrgyzstan. UNICEF will continue to support the Government in the COVID-19 response by delivering COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX facility, procuring cold chain equipment for vaccine storage, providing essential supplies for frontline workers and supporting the socioeconomic measures to ensure that every child can survive and thrive. The handover of the supplies to the maternity house in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan UNICEF Kyrgyzstan
With financial support from the European Union UNICEF launches the ‘RM Child-Health’ project to strengthen vulnerable refugee and migrant children’s health
– Under the Health Programme of the European Union, the Directorate General for Health and Food Safety has committed a project grant to UNICEF to support work ensuring refugee and migrant children and their families have access to quality health care and accurate health information in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Spain, Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia. Refugee and migrant children and their families often have more health-related risks and face a number of barriers accessing quality health care. Many children and families also live with severe emotional distress due to the trauma of fleeing home, undertaking dangerous journeys and experiencing abuse and exploitation, including sexual and gender-based violence. The global COVID19 pandemic further exacerbates these health challenges. “With the ongoing pandemic, protecting every child and adult’s right to health care and accurate heath information is paramount. This collaboration with the EU Health Programme will help ensure the most vulnerable refugee and migrant children will have better access to primary healthcare services, psychosocial support as well as violence prevention and response services,” said UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia and Special Coordinator for the Refuge and Migrant Response in Europe, Ms. Afshan Khan. The project ‘RM Child-Health’ will help improve the health of refugee and migrant children by improving their access to life-saving immunizations, mental health and psychosocial support, gender-based violence prevention and response activities as well as maternal and newborn health care and nutrition support. Information materials on health-related risks and services available for refugee and migrant populations will be created and shared. Medical interpreters and cultural mediators will be deployed to support communication between children and families and health care providers. The project ‘RM Child-Health’ will also support training programmes so frontline health care workers can better respond to the specific needs of refugee and migrant children and their families. In parallel, national health authorities will benefit from technical support to develop, update and improve the implementation of health policies and address bottlenecks in national health systems that currently prevent refugee and migrant children from accessing services. Refugee mother feeding her baby at ADRA community centre in Belgrade. UNICEF/UNI220342/Pancic
Young children’s diets show no improvement in last decade, ‘could get much worse’ under COVID-19 - UNICEF
Children under the age of 2 are not getting the food or nutrients they need to thrive and grow well, leading to irreversible developmental harm, according to a new report released by UNICEF today. Fed to Fail? The crisis of children’s diets in early life – released ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit this week – warns that rising poverty, inequality, conflict, climate-related disasters, and health emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic, are contributing to an ongoing nutrition crisis among the world’s youngest that has shown little sign of improvement in the last ten years. “The report’s findings are clear: When the stakes are highest, millions of young children are being fed to fail,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Poor nutritional intake in the first two years of life can irreversibly harm children’s rapidly growing bodies and brains, impacting their schooling, job prospects, and futures. While we have known this for years, there has been little progress on providing the right kind of nutritious and safe foods for the young. In fact, the ongoing COVID-19 disruptions could make the situation much worse.” In an analysis of 91 countries, the report finds that only half of children aged 6-23 months are being fed the minimum recommended number of meals a day, while just a third consume the minimum number of food groups they need to thrive. Further analysis of 50 countries with available trend data reveals these poor feeding patterns have persisted throughout the last decade. As COVID-19 continues to disrupt essential services and drives more families into poverty, the report finds that the pandemic is affecting how families feed their children. For example, a survey conducted among urban households in Jakarta found that half of the families have been forced to reduce nutritious food purchases. As a result, the percentage of children consuming the minimum recommended a number of food groups fell by a third in 2020, compared to 2018. Children carry the scars of poor diets and feeding practices for life. An insufficient intake of nutrients found in vegetables, fruits, eggs, fish, and meat needed to support growth at an early age puts children at risk of poor brain development, weak learning, low immunity, increased infections, and, potentially, death. Children under the age of two are most vulnerable to all forms of malnutrition – stunting, wasting, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity – as a result of poor diets, due to their greater need for essential nutrients per kilogram of body weight than at any other time in life. Globally, UNICEF estimates that more than half of children under the age of 5 with wasting – around 23 million children – are younger than 2 years of age, while the prevalence of stunting increases rapidly between 6 months and two years, as children’s diets fail to keep pace with their growing nutritional needs. According to the report, children aged 6-23 months living in rural areas or from poorer households are significantly more likely to be fed poor diets compared to their urban or wealthier peers. In 2020, for example, the proportion of children fed the minimum number of recommended food groups was twice as high in urban areas (39 percent) than in rural areas (23 percent). To deliver nutritious, safe, and affordable diets to every child, the report calls for governments, donors, civil society organizations, and development actors to work hand-in-hand to transform food, health, and social protection systems by leading key actions, including: Increasing the availability and affordability of nutritious foods – including fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish meat, and fortified foods – by incentivizing their production, distribution, and retailing. Implementing national standards and legislation to protect young children from unhealthy processed and ultra-processed foods and beverages, and to end harmful marketing practices targeting children and families. Increasing the desirability of nutritious and safe foods through multiple communication channels including digital media to reach parents and children with easy-to-understand, coherent information. The report notes that progress is possible with investment. In Latin America and the Caribbean, for example, almost two thirds (62 percent) of children aged 6–23 months are fed a minimally diverse diet, while in Eastern and Southern Africa (24 percent), West and Central Africa (21 percent) and South Asia (19 percent), less than one in four young children are being fed a minimally diverse diet. In all regions, investments are needed to ensure that all children benefit from the diverse diets they need to prevent all forms of malnutrition, and grow, develop and learn to their full potential. “Children cannot survive or thrive on calories alone,” said Fore. “Only by joining forces with governments, the private sector, civil society, development and humanitarian partners, and families can we transform food systems and unlock nutritious, safe, and affordable diets for every child. The upcoming UN Food Systems Summit is an important opportunity to set the stage for global food systems that meet the needs of all children.” ###
Refugee and migrant children in Europe
People have always migrated to flee from trouble or to find better opportunities. Today, more people are on the move than ever, trying to escape from climate change, poverty and conflict, and aided as never before by digital technologies. Children make up one-third of the world’s population, but almost half of the world’s refugees: nearly 50 million children have migrated or been displaced across borders. We work to prevent the causes that uproot children from their homes While working to safeguard refugee and migrant children in Europe, UNICEF is also working on the ground in their countries of origin to ease the impact of the poverty, lack of education, conflict and insecurity that fuel global refugee and migrant movements. In every country, from Morocco to Afghanistan, and from Nigeria to Iraq, we strive to ensure all children are safe, healthy, educated and protected. This work accelerates and expands when countries descend into crisis. In Syria, for example, UNICEF has been working to ease the impact of the country’s conflict on children since it began in 2011. We are committed to delivering essential services for Syrian families and to prevent Syria's children from becoming a ‘ lost generation ’. We support life-saving areas of health , nutrition , immunization , water and sanitation, as well as education and child protection . We also work in neighbouring countries to support Syrian refugee families and the host communities in which they have settled.