Making sure no child is forgotten – reaching children in refugee camps

Refugee camp in South Sudan.

This is a refugee camp administered by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in South Sudan. South Sudan declared independence in 2011, making it the world’s youngest nation. The country has an incredibly large number of refugees and internally displaced persons due to ongoing conflict and violence in the region. Some of the displaced live in camps like this one. Many others live amongst their host population, without access to basic services. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Tents inside the refugee camp.

Dwellings inside the camp when nobody is around. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Polio workers talking to a group of women about polio vaccination.

STOP Consultants Melis and d’Arcy speaking with mothers and social mobilizers about the upcoming polio vaccination campaign. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Children of all ages holding a banner about the immunization campaign.

Mass immunization campaigns are quite an event. There is often a launch ceremony to raise awareness about the campaign, with marching, singing, dancing and speeches. Children, health workers and local leaders all play a role in the campaign kick-off. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Local leader giving a speech at the launch ceremony.

A local leader briefs media and other stakeholders about the campaign’s purpose, who is eligible for vaccination, and when it will be offered. The advocacy of local leaders is a critical aspect of creating support and mobilizing families to have their children vaccinated. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

A makeshift work room in a camp tent.

After the launching ceremony and festivities are over, vaccinators and other staff start getting ready to vaccinate children. Here is a makeshift staff room in a tent. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Supervisor checking the state of vaccines in the cold box.

Supervisors check everything twice, making sure that each vaccination team has enough vaccine and that it is being kept at the correct temperature. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Baby girl getting oral polio vaccine.

This little one got the first 2 drops of polio vaccine of the day. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Large group of children waiting in line.

Children patiently wait their turn for the polio drops. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Young boy receiving oral polio vaccine.

Classmates stick together while everyone gets their dose. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Young girl receiving oral polio vaccine.

While speaking with parents, vaccinators remind them of the importance of getting 2 drops of polio vaccine every time it is offered to boost immunity. Malnutrition and other diseases are common in refugee and internally displaced persons camps, making children especially vulnerable to the highly contagious poliovirus. © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Group of children smiling and posing.

After the vaccination teams have come and gone, the children are protected and ready to play and learn! © d’Arcy Lunn/ UNICEF.

Page last reviewed: April 17, 2015
Content source: Global Health