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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…
02/01/2021
Strengthening the implementation of health policies
https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories/strengthening-implementation-health-policies
The ‘RM Child-Health’ initiative supports work across five European countries to build the capacity of those working directly with refugee and migrant children and adolescents, equipping them to work effectively with youngsters whose health needs are often complex., Even the best health policy is only as good as its implementation. The success of a policy written down on paper depends entirely on the ability of real-live people on the ground to turn it into tangible action. When it comes to refugee and migrant children in Europe, those who work directly with them will often determine whether or not a policy…, Helping frontline workers help refugee and migrant children, The ‘RM Child-health’ initiative aims to ease the pressure on frontline workers by enhancing their communication with children and by strengthening health systems through, for example, effective referral mechanisms. Better communication between children and health services is supported by training and mobilizing linguistic and cultural mediators…, Looking beyond health care, 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…
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…