UNICEF’s latest initiative during COVID-19 boosts psychosocial support for hospitalized children

UNICEF plays a crucial role in supporting Lebanon’s most vulnerable children through a series of key initiatives, the latest of which sees specially designed PSS kits delivered to children in hospital

Simon Balsom
UNICEF staffer giving a nurse a Psychosocial support kit for the most vulnerable children
UNICEF2020/Fouad-Choufany/Lebanon
22 May 2020

As the world continues to reel from the effects of the COVID-19 epidemic, it is important to remember that the impact of the virus is not limited to just those who have been infected. In Lebanon, children represent an unusually high proportion of people affected by the outbreak, as well as by the country’s ongoing social and economic crisis.

Recognizing the stresses that 2020’s combined situations are imposing on the nation’s children, UNICEF is playing a crucial role in supporting the most vulnerable children through a series of key initiatives.

UNICEF has led the way in ensuring the continuance of free and accessible vaccines for all of Lebanon’s children, and has developed innovative ways of adopting modern technology to provide psychosocial support for boys, girls and caregivers during this period of heightened risk. As part of our psychosocial intervention, UNICEF Lebanon has distributed specially designed kits to support the psychosocial wellbeing of children in hospitals.

Comprising UNICEF’s child-friendly package on the United Nations’ Convention on the Right of the Child with fun items including colouring books, pencils and a stress ball, the kit also includes a copy of a UNICEF Lebanon-published children’s book, “The Adventures of Jad and Tala.” Part of a series that includes a collection of children's stories written for children aged between 4 and 9 years old to highlight key child rights and themes that affect the educational, psychological, health and social development of children.

UNICEF staffer distibuting  Psychosocial support kits for the most vulnerable children
UNICEF2020/Fouad-Choufany/Lebanon
Psychosocial support kits in front of Beirut’s Rafic Hariri Hosptial
UNICEF2020/Fouad-Choufany/Lebanon

The psychosocial support kits have been distributed to children in Beirut’s Rafik Hariri University Hospital, Saida Hospital, along with other hospitals across the country, and also within Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.

A spokesman for Rafik Hariri University Hospital said; “Under the ever-darkening shadow of the coronavirus pandemic, UNICEF’s gifts to the children help towards addressing the psychosocial concerns that accompany their hospitalization”.

UNICEF’s approach to mental health and child psychosocial support focuses on the child, the family and their community. It promotes strengthening of a protective environment for children, not just during emergencies but also in the context of long-term development.

Funded directly by UNICEF Lebanon, the psychosocial support kits have been distributed to children in Beirut’s Rafic Hariri Hosptial, Saida Hospital, along with other hospitals across the country, and also within Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.