05/13/2021
Empowering refugee and migrant children to claim their right to health: Improving health literacy
https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories/empowering-refugee-and-migrant-children-claim-their-right-health-improving-health-literacy
“I have always had to behave ‘like a girl’ and I am not used to being asked for my opinion, but you ask me to say what I think during these workshops.”   A 13-year-old girl from Syria describes the impact of empowerment workshops in Serbia  Boy is drawing a picture. UNICEF-supported activities for children on the island of Lesvos, Greece The ‘RM…, In Bosnia and Herzegovina, , information workshops have been tailored to the needs of different groups of children, including those who are unaccompanied and separated. Topics over the past year have included personal and oral hygiene, drug and alcohol use and its impact on health, the importance of immunization, early childhood development, medical…, In Bulgaria, , the initiative has supported group sessions that have exceeded their targets, with 99 sessions held for refugee children and mothers – more than three times the 28 sessions envisaged. There were more than twice as many information sessions on gender-based violence as originally planned: 107 rather than 48. In all, 600 refugee and migrant…, In Greece, , support from the initiative has enabled UNICEF and its partners to equip refugee and migrant children with information on health risks, entitlements and services through its non-formal education programme in urban areas and on the islands. In the first full year of the initiative, 1,796 children and 464 parents have received crucial information…, In Italy, , there has been an emphasis on peer-to-peer health literacy over the past year. Young refugees and migrants have shared critical health messages through, for example, the U-Report on the Move platform – a user-friendly, cost-effective and anonymous digital platform with more than 6,000 subscribers, where they speak out on the issues that matter…, Serbia, have also been exceeded, with 1,094 refugee and migrant children and parents receiving information on mental health (original target: 500) and 722 receiving information on GBV (original target: 600). Looking beyond the sheer numbers of beneficiaries, those taking part in health literacy workshops, in particular, have voiced their appreciation. One…
05/13/2021
Mainstreaming what works: EU and UNICEF strengthen health capacity for refugee and migrant children
https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories/mainstreaming-what-works-eu-and-unicef-strengthen-health-capacity-refugee-and-migrant
“Very often we have the feeling that this space functions as a container for the absorption of negative emotions of the people who visit us. People who come here often feel safe enough to share their fears, their frustrations and even their darker thoughts. We try to give them space to express their feelings and we always find ways to boost their…, A comprehensive approach to primary health care , The 27-month, €4.3 million ‘RM Child-Health’ initiative, launched in January 2020 and co-funded by the European Union Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, has risen to these challenges over the past year by strengthening the capacity of health systems to deliver health care to refugee and migrant children. The initiative has met or even…, In Bosnia and Herzegovina, , support from the ‘RM Child-Health’ initiative has helped to ensure that every refugee, migrant and asylum-seeking child aged 0-18 who lives in a temporary reception centre has access to paediatric health-care services, including immunization. Experienced and qualified multidisciplinary teams have referred children to specialized…, In Bulgaria, , UNICEF has worked closely with the Council of Refugee Women (CRWB) and the Mission Wings Foundation (MWF) to develop individual needs assessments for refugee and migrant children and mothers who need pre- and post-natal care and ensure their access and referral to state-led health services, from immunization to regular health checks. In all, 569…, In Greece, , the initiative has strengthened the capacity of national health authorities through complementary support for primary health care and for psychosocial support and referral to specialized mental health services for refugee and migrant children. UNICEF and its partner METAdrasi have, for example, provided mother and childcare services through…, In Serbia, , the initiative has supported UNICEF’s efforts to increase immunization among refugee children and migrants by strengthening the assessment and monitoring process. As a result, refugees and migrants have been included in the national COVID-19 Immunization Plan. UNICEF has also supported access to health and other services through Mother and Baby…, Mental and emotional health , In Bulgaria, , children and parents in four reception facilities benefit from activities supported by the initiative that aim to help them deal with their emotions. As part of this intervention, Caritas has set up a team of health facilitators to identify children and women in serious distress and refer them to high-quality psychosocial support., In Greece, , a total of 1,108 refugee and migrant children in the Reception and Identification Centre (RIC) sites on Lesvos and in Athens have taken part in UNICEF-supported psychosocial sessions in the first year of the initiative, receiving referrals to specialized mental health services when needed. With funding from the ‘RM Child-Health’ initiative, …, In Serbia, , UNICEF and its partners have provided community-based psychosocial support, recreational and youth activities for unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) in asylum centres in Sjenica, Belgrade and Bogovadja. This support has included the identification and referral of children at risk to specialized care. The initiative’s original target of…, In Italy, , UNICEF has built on existing approaches to provide both psychological support and GBV prevention and response services in Rome, Sicily, and Calabria in partnership with Médecins du Monde, INTERSOS and Centro Penc. Activities have focused on counselling, case management and referrals, and have been conducted by multi-sectoral teams of qualified…, Gender-based violence , The initiative has built on existing UNICEF interventions for GBV response and prevention in all five countries, helping partners to identify those experiencing or at risk of GBV, and referring survivors to specialized public health services as needed (medical, mental health, legal, and case management)., In Bulgaria, , the initiative has reinforced UNICEF’s efforts to tackle critical gaps in the provision of GBV and protection services and integrate support for refugee and migrant children into national child protection and welfare systems. Work to address the emergency protection needs of GBV survivors and those at risk has been combined with measures to…, In Greece, , UNICEF has ensured that GBV prevention and response services are available for refugee and migrant children through the operation of Women and Girls Safe Spaces (WGSS) at an urban Community Centre in Athens run by the Melissa Network, as well as the Child and Family Support Hub (CFSH) (Tapuat Centre) in Lesvos managed by partner Illiaktida. In…, In Serbia, , UNICEF supports safe spaces for girls on the move and their mothers in four locations, where they have access to GBV prevention and response services, including empowerment workshops and information. Here, trained teams identify GBV concerns and refer cases to specialized services. In all, 913 refugee and migrant children have been reached by…, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, , given the critical importance of their health and wellbeing for that of their children., In Bulgaria, , UNICEF and the CRWB are mapping and analysing the health experiences of refugees and migrants in their countries of origin – experiences that have shaped their expectations of health services in general – and have launched a survey on their health status and needs. The goal: to develop and implement a Community Health Programme that is based on…, In Serbia, , cutting-edge field research is exploring the prevalence of alcohol and substance use among young refugees and migrants, and its psychological impact. The findings – expected by the end of 2021 – will guide the development of materials and capacity building for health and community workers who are in regular contact with young refugees and…
05/13/2021
Safeguarding the health of refugee and migrant children during COVID-19
https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories/safeguarding-health-refugee-and-migrant-children-during-covid-19
"When COVID arrived here, I thought: ‘It's over, it will spread throughout the building’. I didn't think it was possible to avoid the spread of the outbreak. Instead, we have had very few cases and we owe this, above all, to the support we received from INTERSOS and UNICEF."  Josehaly (Josy), a refugee living in Rome A field worker from Intersos…, In Bulgaria, , UNICEF and its partners were able to take immediate measures with support from the ‘RM Child-Health’ initiative to alleviate the impact, including online awareness raising and information sessions and the use of different channels for communication, including social media. UNICEF’s partners, the Council of Refugee Women in Bulgaria (CRWB) and…, In Greece, , the initiative supported the development of child-friendly information posters and stickers for refugee and migrant children and their families on critical preventive measures and on what to do and where to go if they experience any COVID-19 symptoms., In Italy, , the initiative has supported outreach teams and community mobilization, providing refugee and migrant families with the information and resources they need to keep the pandemic at bay. In Rome, for example, health promoters from Intersos continued to work directly with refugee and migrant communities in informal settlements, not only to prevent…, In Serbia, , the initiative has supported UNICEF’s efforts to improve the immunization process for refugee children and migrants by strengthening the assessment and monitoring process. As a result of such efforts, refugees and migrants have been included in the national COVID-19 Immunization Plan.  , Building on what works, As these examples show, support from the ‘RM Child-Health initiative’ has helped UNICEF and its partners rise to the challenges posed by the pandemic over the past year. The initiative has enabled frontline workers to accelerate, adapt, expand and intensify work that was already underway, and to mobilize social media and other channels, as well as…
04/08/2021
Navigating pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic
https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories/navigating-pregnancy-during-covid-19-pandemic
Pregnancy is a special time full of excitement and anticipation. But for many expectant mothers, the COVID-19 pandemic has clouded this time with fear, anxiety and uncertainty.  To help women navigate this time, we spoke to experts about pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines and tips on how to have a  safe pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic .  , Pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines, The development of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines is a huge step forward in our global effort to end the pandemic and to get back to doing more of the things we enjoy with the people we love. Here are the answers to come commonly asked questions about pregnancy and COVID-19 vaccines.  , Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m pregnant?, Although the overall risk of severe illness from COVID-19 remains low, pregnancy puts you at higher risk of severe illness compared to people who are not pregnant. Research is still ongoing to understand the safety and effects of COVID-19 vaccination in pregnant women, but there is no known reason that would outweigh the benefits of vaccination…, Can COVID-19 vaccines affect fertility?, No, you may have seen false claims on social media, but there is no evidence that any vaccine, including COVID-19 vaccines, can affect fertility in women or men. If you are currently trying to become pregnant, you do not need to avoid pregnancy after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.  , Should I get the COVID-19 vaccine if I’m breastfeeding?, Researchers are currently studying COVID-19 vaccination in breastfeeding women, but there is still limited information at this time. WHO advises that vaccinations are offered if a lactating woman is part of a priority group for vaccinations, for example if you are a health worker. Breastfeeding can continue after vaccination and remains one of the…, Having a safe pregnancy during the COVID-19 pandemic, To learn more about how women can protect themselves and their little one, we spoke with Franka Cadée, President of the International Confederation of Midwives. COVID-19 is a new virus and research into it is ongoing. We will update this article as new information becomes available.  , Is it safe to continue prenatal check-ups?, Many expectant mothers are fearful of going to appointments while they are taking precautions, such as staying home and practicing physical distancing when outside. “You do see a lot of adaptation happening at the moment in the world where midwives are doing clinics or certain appointments by phone, so that the actual looking at the baby and the…, If I have COVID-19 will I pass it to my baby?, We still do not know if the virus can be transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy. “The COVID-19 virus has not been found in vaginal fluid, in cord blood or breastmilk,” says Cadée, although information is still emerging. To date, COVID-19 has also not been detected in amniotic fluid or the placenta. The best thing you can do is to…, I was planning on giving birth in a hospital or healthcare clinic. Is this still a good option?, “Women should ask their midwife [or health care professional] what they feel is the safest place for them and how precautions are being taken from situation to situation,” recommends Cadée. “It depends on the woman, on her situation and on the healthcare system.”  “You would hope that most healthcare facilities have different facilities where…, Can my partner or family member be nearby when I give birth?, While policies vary by country, Cadée believes women should have someone nearby to support them, as long as the proper precautions are taken, such as wearing a mask while in the delivery room and washing their hands. “We are finding that in certain countries people are not being allowed to be with women, and that is worrying me. I can understand…, I’m feeling incredibly anxious about giving birth. What should I do to cope?, Having a plan in place for your birth can help ease feelings of anxiety by giving you more of a sense of control, but recognizing that the current situation means there may be less predictability depending where you live. “This should include who to phone when the labour begins, who will provide support during labour and where. Establish what…, What questions should I be asking my healthcare professional?, Cadée underlines the importance of establishing a trusting relationship with your healthcare provider. “All of those questions that have to do with you and your health, I would ask them freely. If you have an open relationship with your healthcare provider – with your midwife, with your obstetrician – they will discuss these things with you and…, What should women pack to go into hospital during the pandemic?, “I don’t think women need to take anything extra, but they should take precautions well into account,” advises Cadée. She expects some hospitals may ask women to go home more quickly than normal if they’re healthy. “Again, that will be different from area to area, from woman to woman, from hospital to hospital,” she says, recommending expecting…, Once I have given birth, what can I do to protect my newborn from the COVID-19 virus?, The best thing you can do is to keep it simple: stick to just your family and don’t ask for visitors right now.  Although it’s a difficult time, Cadée recommends trying to see the positive side of having this time to bond as a family. “Sometimes it can be very busy for young mothers and fathers to have so many visitors. Enjoy the quietness of your…, I am an expecting mother. What should I be doing to keep myself safe during the COVID-19 virus outbreak?, As far as the research shows, pregnant women are not at a higher risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus than any other group of people. That being said, due to changes in their bodies and immune systems, pregnant women in the last months of pregnancy can by badly affected by some respiratory infections, and so it’s important to…, Can I safely breastfeed my baby?, “As far as we know, it is perfectly safe to continue breastfeeding. It's the best thing a mother can do for her baby," says Cadée. Transmission of active COVID-19 (virus that can cause infection) through breast milk and breastfeeding has not been detected to date. If you suspect you may have the COVID-19 virus, it is important to seek medical care…, What should I do if I live in a crowded space?, Many women around the world live in close proximity to lots of other people, making physical distancing much more challenging. In such places, “I would really ask the whole community to take care of their pregnant women,” urges Cadée. She recommends that people keep their distance from pregnant women as much as possible and that certain toilets be…
05/13/2021
Support for frontline workers: Implementation of health policies for refugee and migrant children
https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories/support-frontline-workers-implementation-health-policies-refugee-and-migrant-children
“I find the tool for identification of unaccompanied and separated girls [UASGs] very useful since the indicators included are clear and help us recognise UASGs more quickly.”   A frontline worker in Serbia welcomes a new tool to identify refugee and migrant girls Two girls are talking to each other. The ‘RM Child-Health’ initiative has supported…, In Bosnia and Herzegovina, , for example, 34 national service providers and other frontline workers have completed pre- and in-service training on health issues for refugee and migrant children and international best practice. Country-specific policy packages for health policy implementation have been made available on standard operating procedures (SOPs) for paediatric…, In Bulgaria, , the past year has seen a strong focus on the training of frontline workers to identify, manage and refer children with physical and mental health problems, and on embedding child protection standards into health provision. In all, 36 frontline workers have been trained to work effectively with children who have mental health issues – far…, In Italy, , UNICEF has worked with MdM, reception sites, local health authorities and others to enhance the knowledge and skills of frontline workers from different sectors – health, child protection, education and reception services – on health risks for migrant and refugee children, with a focus on mental health and GBV prevention and response. Training…, In Serbia, , UNICEF and the University of Belgrade (Faculty of Political Sciences) have developed and piloted the interdisciplinary university Course Protection of Children Affected by Mixed Migration over the past year. The course has reached 40 students of social work and active frontline workers to date – well on track to reach the 50 planned for the…, Looking ahead, In Bulgaria, , UNICEF will continue to work with the Animus Association Foundation to develop a structured GBV training curriculum for frontline workers, aiming for eventual scale-up. In addition, the CRWB will complete its analysis of the health needs of refugees and migrants in Bulgaria and their access to state-led health services in comparison to their…, In Greece, , UNICEF plans targeted training for health authorities, service providers and other frontline workers on health issues and international best practices for refugee and migrant children. Professionals from the National Health Organization (EODY) working in open accommodation sites will gain insights into how to manage and refer medical cases among…, In Italy, , operational guidance on providing psychosocial support to unaccompanied migrant and refugee children, produced in collaboration with MdM, is being finalized for use by frontline workers. UNICEF is also mapping mental health and psychosocial services in Rome, Reggio Calabria and Syracuse to identify those that are accessible to migrants and…, In Serbia, , UNICEF and the Institute of Mental Health have launched cutting-edge field research in response to concerns about the health status of people living in migrant centres, particularly in relation to the use – and abuse – of alcohol and drugs. A final report is expected at the end of 2021 and will guide the development of materials and capacity…
01/29/2021
Strengthening national health capacity for refugee and migrant children
https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories/strengthening-national-health-capacity-refugee-and-migrant-children
“This collaboration is helping to stimulate public demand for strong national health systems that work for everybody and that rise to new challenges, such as disease outbreaks.” Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director, The ‘RM Child-Health’ initiative has supported work across five European countries to enhance and strengthen the capacity of national health systems to meet the health needs of refugee and migrant children. This work recognizes that a health system that works for such vulnerable children is a health system that works for every child., At first glance, helping a 10-year girl from Iran, now living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, get a new pair of glasses might seem a simple thing. For Maisa, however, this is the end result of a continuum of intensive support, from identifying a girl who struggles with an eye condition, to connecting her to a skilled ophthalmologist. And now Maisa…, Basic health care for all refugee and migrant children, Nothing builds trust and confidence in health care more than health services that are accessible, flexible and that work with – rather than against – the grain of people’s everyday lives. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, for example, the ‘RM Child-Health’ initiative supports efforts to ensure that every single refugee and migrant child in the country…, Building a solid foundation of knowledge for stronger health systems, The initiative also recognizes that strong health systems need to be built on a firm foundation of evidence and research. Activities since January 2020 have included ground-breaking research in Bulgaria on refugees’ experiences of health services in their countries of origin, and how this has shaped their expectations and uptake of health services…