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04/26/2021
Immunization services begin slow recovery from COVID-19 disruptions, though millions of children remain at risk from deadly diseases – WHO, UNICEF, Gavi
https://www.unicef.org/eca/press-releases/immunization-services-begin-slow-recovery-covid-19-disruptions-though-millions
GENEVA/NEW YORK, 26 April 2021, --- 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…, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s Director-General, . “And if we’re to avoid multiple outbreaks of life-threatening diseases like measles, yellow fever and diphtheria, we must ensure routine vaccination services are protected in every country in the world.” A WHO survey has found that, despite progress when compared to the situation in 2020, more than one third of respondent countries (37%) still…, Dr Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, . “To support the recovery from COVID-19 and to fight future pandemics, we will need to ensure routine immunization is prioritized as we also focus on reaching children who do not receive any routine vaccines, or zero-dose children. To do this, we need to work together – across development agencies, governments and civil society…, New global immunization strategy aims to save over 50 million lives, To help tackle these challenges and support the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO UNICEF , Gavi and other partners today launched the Immunization Agenda 2030 (IA2030), an ambitious new global strategy to maximize the lifesaving impact of vaccines through stronger immunization systems. The Agenda focuses on vaccination throughout life, from…, Urgent action needed from all immunization stakeholders, To achieve IA2030’s ambitious goals, WHO, UNICEF, Gavi and partners are calling for bold action: World leaders and the global health and development community should make explicit commitments to IA2030 and invest in stronger immunization systems, with tailored approaches for fragile and conflict-affected countries. Immunization is a vital element…
09/30/2021
A child’s guide to COVID-19
https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories/childs-guide-covid-19
As the COVID-19 virus continues to spread around the world, many children like you are keen to get answers to their burning questions about the disease and what they can do to help protect themselves from it. We hope you find this helpful.  , 1.What is COVID-19?, COVID-19 is a disease caused by a virus that can spread through the air and land on surfaces. The virus gets its name through the combination of its syllables: ‘CO’ from ‘corona’ – the latin word for ‘crown’, because the outer ring of the virus looks crown-shaped under a microscope, ‘VI’ for virus and ‘D’ for disease. The number ‘19’ refers to the…, 2. How can I get COVID-19?, You can get the virus by being in close contact with infected people who discharge small droplets when they sneeze, cough, laugh, sing, speak or even breathe. You can also be infected by touching surfaces that have been contaminated by the virus and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth without cleaning your hands., 3. How do you know if you have COVID-19?, People with COVID-19 can have a number of symptoms (a change in the body that shows something is wrong), or they may have no symptoms at all! These symptoms often include a fever, cough, headache and/or tiredness.  Sometimes people also report losing their sense of taste and smell, having problems breathing or a sore throat. Whether they have…, 4. Can children and young people catch COVID-19?, Yes, anyone can catch the COVID-19 virus and spread it to others.  Children don’t usually become seriously ill from the disease unless they have other health problems that put them at more risk, but even so we all need to be careful. , 5. What should I do to protect myself and others from the virus?, You can help protect yourself and your friends and family  in simple ways such as: by keeping a safe distance between yourself and other people – at least 1 metre or about twice the length of your outstretched arms.  by avoiding crowded or closed spaces where there isn’t much air flow. It’s also a good idea to keep windows and doors open and to…, 6. How can I keep safe when going to and at school?, Remember that there are many things you can do to help protect yourself on your way to school, when you’re in the classroom and when you’re returning home. Avoid crowded public transport if you can. Discuss with your parents if there is an alternative, such as walking or cycling. If you need to get a bus or train, try to keep your distance from…, 7. Do I need to wear a mask?, Every country has its own recommendation on the use of masks. Make sure you know what the recommendation in your country, city or school is. You may ask your parents or teachers about it.  If you need to wear a mask, wear it like a superhero:  When putting it on, make sure you adjust it to cover your mouth, nose and chin.  While wearing it, do not…, 8. Many talk about the COVID-19 variants: what are they?, Viruses commonly mutate (in other words they change in form over time). Each change is very small, but after many such changes the virus’ form and characteristics become different enough to be called a ‘variant’ of the original virus. Some variants of COVID-19 are more transmissible (able to spread easier) and can also cause more serious illness.…, 9. Do children need to have a COVID-19 vaccine?, COVID-19 vaccines are not yet available for children below 12 years old. As most children don’t get seriously ill from COVID-19, at this stage vaccination is not recommended for children. However, children and adolescents older than 12 with health problems, such as diabetes, lung or heart disease or other chronical diseases that might put them at…, 10. Are COVID-19 vaccines safe?, Yes. COVID-19 vaccines have been thoroughly tested and are found to be safe. They have also proven to be very good at reducing the chances of people getting seriously ill or dying from COVID-19. Thanks to the joint work of scientists and research organizations across the world, safe COVID-19 vaccines were developed in record time., 11. How do vaccines work?, When our body is attacked by a virus or bacteria that causes a disease, our immune system (the body’s natural defense) produces an army of soldiers, called ‘antibodies’. These antibodies fight off infection from the invading disease. When the body is attacked for the first time by this particular invader, the immune…, 12. What should I do if I think I have COVID-19?, If you have a cough, fever, headache, sore throat or have trouble breathing, inform your parents or your teacher immediately. It may or may not be COVID-19 but it is good to be tested straight away just in case. If the test shows that you have the virus, don’t be scared. Follow your parents' and doctor's advice so you can recover quickly. Do not…, 13. What else can I do to help fight against COVID-19?, Learn more about COVID-19 and tell your family and friends how they can protect themselves from it by sharing some of the tips in this guide.
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…
01/29/2021
Improving health literacy among refugee and migrant children
https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories-region/improving-health-literacy-among-refugee-and-migrant-children
The ‘RM Child-Health’ initiative has supported work across five European countries to improve health literacy among refugee and migrant children. The aim is to enhance their knowledge about key health issues and risks, help them navigate health-service provision in their host countries and empower them to demand health services as their right., Health literacy – the ability to find, understand and use information to promote and maintain good health – matters for all of us. But it is particularly important for refugee and migrant children and adolescents who struggle to access health care. The challenges they face include a chronic lack of health information in their own languages, and a…, Step 1: Identify the challenges and the knowledge gaps, UNICEF has worked with partners and with young refugees and migrants on the ground to identify information gaps – work that has, in turn, guided the development of health literacy packages across all five countries on a range of crucial health issues, from immunization and nutrition to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and…, Step 2: Fill the knowledge gaps, using established and trusted channels, The assessment of health literacy supported by the ‘RM Child-health’ initiative has confirmed the languages in which all materials should be available, including Arabic, Farsi, French, and many more, as well as the information channels used most often by refugee and migrant communities. Awareness-raising sessions, face-to-face and online workshops…
06/09/2021
Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on children and families in the Western Balkans and Turkey
https://www.unicef.org/eca/mitigating-impact-covid-19-children-and-families-western-balkans-and-turkey
The COVID-19 pandemic is taking an unprecedented toll on children and families, There is abundant evidence that children bear a heavy burden resulting from disrupted essential services, increased social isolation, and loss of family income. In pandemic times, parents and caregivers are more likely to feel overwhelmed with providing stimulation and care for their young children and delay seeking prompt medical attention for…, strengthen national health, education, early childhood development, and child protection systems to ensure continuity in the provision of core services for vulnerable children and their families in the immediate and the longer-term recovery response to COVID-19., The initiative is being implemented in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo* [1] , Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, and Turkey.  , Action and impact, Child is playng a game on ipad and learning about online safety. 10 November 2021 -, UNICEF Albania, will reach to 400 children and 100 parents and ensure that they have access to a mobile, “digital literacy and online safety curricula”,  and know about the,  , importance of mental health and where to seek support., Social worker is responding to a call to support parent in Montenegro. 30 October 2021 -, UNICEF Montenegro,   launched the toll-free telephone number 080 888 888, to support parents who are facing numerous challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic., Father reads book to his son. 29 June 2021 – In, Montenegro, , UNICEF’s   #ParentChat programme teaches Mums and Dads, positive parenting techniques that help in stressful times., On 15 July 2020, a caregiver hugs a three-year-old girl at Hana and Rozafa, a state-run residential centre in Tirana, the capital city of Albania. 6 October 2021 -, UNICEF Kosovo* , and University in Prishtina in partnerships with the European Union signed a new agreement : To, improve access to mental and psycho-social health services, for children Sanela runs the phoneline service, which was launched as one of the services within the “Mladost” Children’s Home in Bijela. 3 August 2021 – In, Montenegro, , within the project a universal SOS phoneline is set up to, provide professional counselling and assistance to children and young people., A baby girl receives her vaccination at a clinic in Serbia. 5 July 2021 – In, Bosnia and Herzegovina, , UNICEF and EU support is helping parents to keep their, children’s vaccination  , schedules, up to date. , How UNICEF and EU will support children and families, The European Union’s contribution of €5 million will help to ensure the continuity and quality of essential services in a context of epidemiological restrictions, while building durable national capacities that deliver quality services for children and families. The work at local level is aligned with the national needs and priorities and includes:, Strengthening the continuity of essential health and nutrition services and capacity of health service professionals., Activities will include research and analysis, technical support to ensure community of essential services and commodities, support for development of national guidelines and innovative platforms that enable parents to access information on newborn care, breastfeeding, nutrition and immunization, as well as capacity building of…, Strengthening the continuity of child protection services and capacity of social work and social service professionals, to better identify and respond to the needs of vulnerable children and families by creating access to child protection services and   mental health and psycho-social counselling., Strengthening education services through capacity development of, teachers in delivering quality and inclusive learning through digital learning for all children. Support will include developing teacher training, guidance, adapting inclusive high-quality teaching materials to local languages, and capacities of and providing advice to policy framework to improve the effectiveness and quality of distance learning., Supporting early childhood development (ECD) services and the capacity of ECD professionals., Emphasis is placed on expanding and improving the quality of tools and digital resources and that support children, their caregivers, and wide range of ECD practitioners. Innovative solutions will include, for example, online learning platforms for pre-school children and for children with developmental difficulties, and a smartphone app that can…, Expected results, Over this two-year initiative, across the Western Balkans and Turkey Continuation of vaccination services during COVID-19. 78,500 children and 84,000 caregivers will benefit from the continuation of essential maternal, newborn and child health and nutrition services. Girl is attending the centre to continue her education during COVID-19 pandemic.…, * , This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSC 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence   This website was created and is maintained with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Regional Office and do…, Contact for more information, Ivelina Borisova, Regional Adviser, Early Childhood Development
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…
08/06/2021
Ukraine’s elderly reunited with loved ones after vaccine
https://www.unicef.org/eca/stories/ukraines-elderly-reunited-loved-ones-after-vaccine
Today is a big day for Olha Antoniuk. After more than a year of isolation and an 84th birthday spent without her loved ones, she is preparing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. “I have two daughters, five grandchildren and many great-grandchildren,” says Olha, who lives at a nursing home for war and labour veterans in Korosten, northern Ukraine. “…, Reunited at last, Petro Kyrylenko, 83, lives in a nursing home in Ukraine’s Zyktomyr region, along with his 82-year-old wife Rimma. The COVID-19 vaccine will change their lives. “I’m sure the vaccine is a chance to return to normal life," says Rimma. Petro Kyrylenko, 83, lives in a nursing home in Ukraine’s Zyktomyr region Before the pandemic, Petro was often…, Brighter days ahead, The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted people who live with disabilities. Anatolii Nesterenko is just 52, but lives in a nursing home after doctors were forced to amputate both his legs as a result of severe frostbite. Anatolii Nesterenko is just 52, but lives in a nursing home. Anatolii did not hesitate to get vaccinated. He believes it is a…, Vaccinated and protected, A mobile vaccination team travels around the Zhytomyr region to reach vulnerable groups like these. Three of the physicians received training as part of the COVAX initiative. “We were specifically taught to work with the RNA vaccine,” explains Svitlana Pastukh, a family doctor and one of the members of the mobile team. “This is good because…, Hope for the future, UNICEF works with communities across Ukraine to increase demand for vaccination among priority population groups, especially older adults. It also works with the government to ensure that people over 60 receive up-to-date information about vaccination against COVID-19, including the types of vaccine that are available and how to receive them.…