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
UNICEF appeals for $1.6 billion to meet growing needs of children impacted by COVID-19 pandemic
– UNICEF is appealing for US$1.6 billion to support its humanitarian response for children impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, up from $651.6 million requested in a similar appeal late March. This increase reflects the devastating socioeconomic consequences of the disease and families’ rising needs. As the outbreak enters its fifth month, the costs for supplies, shipment and duty of care are increasing dramatically. “The pandemic is a health crisis which is quickly becoming a child rights crisis,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Schools are closed, parents are out of work and families are under growing strain. As we begin to reimagine what a post-COVID world would look like, these funds will help us respond to the crisis, recover from its aftermath, and protect children from its knock-on effects.” Access to essential services like health care and routine immunization has already been compromised for hundreds of millions of children, which could lead to a significant increase in child mortality. Meanwhile, the mental health and psychosocial impact of restricted movement, school closures and subsequent isolation are likely to intensify already high levels of stress, especially for vulnerable children. According to a UNICEF analysis, some 77 per cent of children under the age of 18 worldwide, or 1.8 billion, are living in one of the 132 countries with some form of movement restrictions in place due to COVID-19. Risk factors for violence, abuse and neglect are on the rise for children living under restricted movement and socio-economic decline. Girls and women are at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence. In many cases, refugee, migrant and internally displaced children, as well as returnees, are experiencing reduced access to services and protection and increasing exposure to xenophobia and discrimination. “We have seen what the pandemic is doing to countries with developed health systems and we are concerned about what it would do to countries with weaker systems and fewer available resources,” said Fore. UNICEF is focusing its response to the pandemic on countries with existing humanitarian crises – working both to prevent transmission and mitigate the collateral impacts on children, women and vulnerable populations, especially around access to health, nutrition, water and sanitation, education and protection. UNICEF has so far received US $215 million in support of its response to the pandemic. Additional funding will help UNICEF build upon results already achieved which include: Over 1.67 billion people reached with COVID-19 prevention messaging around hand washing and cough and sneeze hygiene; Over 12 million people reached with critical water, sanitation and hygiene supplies; UNICEF has shipped more than 6.6 million gloves, 1.3 million surgical masks, 428,000 N95 respirators, 291,000 gowns, 13,000 goggles, 63,500 face shields, 200 oxygen concentrators and 34,500 diagnostic tests for COVID-19, in support of 52 countries as they respond to the pandemic; Nearly 80 million children reached with distance or home-based learning; Over 10.9 million children and women receiving essential healthcare services in UNICEF supported facilities; and Over 830,000 children, parents and caregivers provided with community-based mental health and psychosocial support. ### A child wearing a face mask due to the COVID-19 pandemic watches water being poured into a container in Caracas. UNICEF/UNI317845/ Hernandez/AFP
UNICEF issues record US$6.4 billion emergency funding appeal to reach more than 190 million children impacted by humanitarian crises and the COVID-19 pandemic
– UNICEF today issued its largest ever emergency funding appeal for US$6.4 billion to reach 300 million people, including more than 190 million children, with essential support and services through the end of 2021. This appeal is a 35 per cent increase over funds requested for 2020, and a reflection of expanding humanitarian needs globally amidst protracted crises and the COVID-19 pandemic. “When a devastating pandemic coincides with conflict, climate change, disaster and displacement, the consequences for children can be catastrophic,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Today we are facing a child rights emergency in which COVID-19 and other crises are combining to deprive children of their health and wellbeing. This unprecedented situation demands a similarly unprecedented response. We are urging our donors to join us so that together we can help the world’s children get through this darkest of times and prevent a lost generation.” The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the lives of children, particularly the most vulnerable. Routine immunization services for children have been disrupted in more than 60 countries, while nearly a quarter of a billion students worldwide are still affected by COVID-19 school closures. Economic instability is disrupting essential services and making it harder for families to make ends meet and increasing the risk of domestic and gender-based violence. Meanwhile, new humanitarian crises emerged in 2020. The conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has left 2.8 million people in urgent need of assistance. In Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, more than 425,000 people, including 191,000 children, have been displaced. Reports of killings, abductions, recruitment and use of children as soldiers are on the rise. In addition, powerful storms devastated vulnerable communities in Central America and East Asia (namely the Philippines, Viet Nam and Cambodia), affecting 2.6 million and 13.4 million children respectively. At the same time, the pandemic has worsened protracted emergencies in countries like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Libya, South Sudan, Ukraine and Venezuela. This coming March will mark 10 years of conflict in Syria and six years of conflict in Yemen, leaving nearly 17 million children in need of humanitarian assistance in these two countries alone. The number of climate-related disasters has tripled in the last 30 years, threatening food security, increasing water scarcity, forcing people from their homes and increasing the risk of conflict and public health emergencies. An estimated 36 million children, more than ever before, are living in displacement due to conflict, violence and disaster. Malnutrition among children is on the rise in countries around the world. As part of its Humanitarian Action for Children which sets out the agency’s 2021 appeal, UNICEF plans to reach: 149 million women and girls and 7.4 million children with disabilities; 6.3 million children with treatment for severe acute malnutrition; 27.4 million children with measles vaccinations; 45 million people with access to safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene; 19.2 million children and caregivers with access to mental health and psychosocial support; 17 million children and women with access to gender-based violence risk mitigation, prevention or response interventions; 93.3 million children with formal or non-formal education, including early learning; and 9.6 million households with cash assistance. As part of its response to COVID-19, UNICEF is putting its massive supply and procurement operation behind rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine, with a focus on equity to reach the most vulnerable children and families. This work includes coordinating with major global airlines and freight providers to step up efforts to deliver vaccines to more than 92 countries around the world as soon as vaccines become available. The agency is also co-leading efforts to help governments’ readiness to deploy the vaccines – including by prepositioning syringes, mapping out cold chain equipment, and tackling misinformation. The top five appeals by funding requirements for 2021 are for Syrian refugees (US$1.0 billion), Yemen (US$576.9 million), the Democratic Republic of Congo (US$384.4 million), Syria (US$330.8 million) and Venezuela (US$201.8 million). Putting national and local organizations at the center of humanitarian operations is a key strategy in UNICEF’s humanitarian response. Key results in 2020 were made possible by UNICEF’s partnerships, including with humanitarian country teams, UN agencies, civil society and non-governmental organizations, national and local responders and resource partners. Notable results include: 1.5 million children treated for severe acute malnutrition; 3.4 million children vaccinated against measles; 3 billion people reached with COVID-19 messaging on prevention and access to services; 1.8 million health care workers provided with personal protective equipment; 45.5 million households benefiting from new or additional social assistance measures provided by governments to respond to COVID-19 with UNICEF support; 2.5 million COVID-19 test kits provided to 56 countries. ### Multimedia materials available here Download the 2021 UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children Mina, 5, happily carries her box of winter clothes UNICEF Iraq/2020/Anmar
Why family-friendly policies are critical to increasing breastfeeding rates worldwide - UNICEF
: In 2018, less than half of babies worldwide – 43 per cent – were breastfed within the first hour of life. Immediate skin-to skin contact and starting breastfeeding early keeps a baby warm, builds his or her immune system, promotes bonding, boosts a mother’s milk supply and increases the chances that she will be able to continue exclusive breastfeeding. Breastmilk is more than just food for babies – it is also a potent medicine for disease prevention that is tailored to the needs of each child. The ‘first milk’ – or colostrum – is rich in antibodies to protect babies from disease and death.
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.