Moving with the times: 1980–1988
UNICEF launches the Child Survival and Development Revolution, a drive to save the lives of millions of children each year. Special emphasis is placed on four low-cost measures: growth monitoring, oral rehydration therapy, promotion of breastfeeding, and immunization (together they are sometimes referred to by the acronym GOBI) A series of posters introduced in the 1980s features the tagline, “What would you like to be when you grow up? Alive!” UNICEF poster UNICEF На серии плакатов, выпущенных в 1980-х годах, размещен слоган “Что бы ты хотел делать, когда вырастешь? Жить!”
Strengthening the implementation of health policies
The initiative also promotes and supports multi-disciplinary approaches and teams to address the complex causes of health problems among refugee and migrant children – from trauma, anxiety and over-crowded conditions, to lack of hygiene facilities and immunization. As a result, support from the ‘RM Child-health’ initiative builds trust between refugee and migrant families and health providers. At the Centre for refugees and migrants near Bela Palanka in south-eastern Serbia, for example, the needs of refugee and migrant women have shaped the development of the Community Centre run by ADRA, with its Mother and Baby Corner for women with infants. Here, women can take part in language classes, sports activities and, crucially, in workshops about their own health and rights. “ The most important thing is that all the advice from our doctor is in line with their economic circumstances and current living situation [in Reception centres],” explains social worker Andja Petrovic. “The advice is tailored to their life and I think they particularly like that, because they can see that their situation is acknowledged. Because when they go to a doctor [in other facilities], they get advice that they can’t follow because they don’t have the living conditions for it.” Also in Serbia, funding from the ‘RM Child-health Initiative’ supports work by UNICEF and the Institute of Mental Health that looks beyond the provision of basic health care to assess the scale and nature of substance abuse among refugee and migrant communities. This cutting-edge field research will guide the development of materials and capacity building specifically for health and community workers who are in regular contact with young refugees and migrants, helping these workers to identify and tackle substance abuse by connecting children and youth to support services. As one researcher involved in the research commented: “Most of those children have spent several years without a home or any sense of stability. They can't make a single plan about the future since everything in their life is so uncertain. I can't begin to imagine how frightening that is.” By building greater rapport between frontline workers and children, and by equipping those workers with the support, skills and resources they need, the ‘RM Child-health’ initiative is helping to transform health policies into health practice. This vital work has been particularly crucial in 2020, as frontline workers have had to confront – and adapt to – the greatest public health crisis in living memory: the COVID-19 pandemic. Logo This story is part of the Project ‘Strengthening Refugee and Migrant Children’s Health Status in Southern and South Eastern Europe’, Co-funded by the Health Programme of the European Union (the ‘RM Child-Health’ initiative).It represents the views of the author only and is her sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the European Commission and/or the Consumers, Health, Agriculture and Food Executive Agency or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.
Five opportunities for children we must seize now
History and science tell us vaccines are the best hope we have of ending this virus and rebuilding our lives and our livelihoods. Yet, as Ridhi reminds us, there is a real risk the What you need to know about a COVID-19 vaccine COVID-19 vaccines will not reach all who need it. Vaccine hesitancy will have a profound effect on our ability to overcome COVID-19. A study of nearly 20,000 adults from 27 countries found that roughly 1 in 4 of them would decline a COVID-19 vaccine. A similar study of Americans showed that unclear and inconsistent messaging from public health officials and politicians could reduce vaccine use. Meanwhile, vaccine misinformation has become a big and growing business. Anti-vaccination entrepreneurs have increased their online following by at least 20 per cent during the pandemic. According to Avaaz, the top 10 websites identified by researchers as spreading health misinformation had almost four times as many views on Facebook as information from established health sites. In short, we are losing serious ground in the fight for trust. And without trust, any COVID-19 vaccine will be useless. But with the global roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines, we now have the opportunity to truly reach every child with life-saving immunizations. The light at the end of the tunnel needs to shine for all.