Our projects

Emergencies affect women and men differently.

So can our humanitarian response. 

 – UNFPA 

AMURTEL Greece is responding to the refugee crisis by providing antenatal and postnatal care, programs for infant and young child feeding, and safe spaces for mothers and babies to gather.

Our teams have been present in Athens since September 2015. Following our work based at the port of Pireaus and other camps, AMURTEL opened a Mother-Baby Area in the hub of downtown Athens in September 2016. This move has enabled us to reach the greatest number of people since more than 10,000 refugees currently live in urban settings and public transportation allows access to downtown for those in the surrounding Athens camps.

Our projects, outlined below, will continue to adapt to respond to the needs of women and children as the situation develops.

Reproductive health care in emergencies is not a luxury but a necessity that saves lives and reduces illness. 1

 

Antenatal and postnatal

One in five refugee women of childbearing age (15-45) is likely to be pregnant. 2 Pregnant women and newborns are disproportionately harmed by disasters, with more miscarriages, premature births, low birth weight infants, undesired pregnancies and birth complications than an average population.

Fragmented or little access to health care, unfamiliar surroundings, and the often unending psychological stress put pregnant women and infants at great risk.

We offer:

  • Prenatal and postnatal exams by licensed midwives
  • Preparation for birth in a Greek hospital
  • Postpartum care of mother and infant

 

 

Infant and young child feeding (IYCF)

Breastfeeding is a major factor in infant protection and nutrition, enabling health and stability in an infant during a crisis. However, due to the indiscriminate distribution of breastmilk substitutes combined with many widely disseminated misconceptions about breastmilk, many mothers believe that formula feeding is best. These mothers unwittingly put their children at high risk and often need support to maintain or increase breastfeeding.

The World Health Organization states that infants should be exclusively breastfeed for the first six months of life with breastfeeding and complementary foods both given until two years of age or beyond. During a crisis, this is even more lifesaving than at other times.

We offer:

  • Infant feeding assessments for mothers with children under 2 years of age
  • Information on the crucial importance of breastfeeding in disaster situations whenever possible
  • Help for mothers to  increase their milk supply and relactate if possible
  • Advice and support for those who need to give breastmilk substitutes
  • Limited distribution of non-food items, e.g. diapers, infant clothing, baby carriers, and underwear for women.

“Breastfeeding practices need to be protected during emergencies; infants who are not breastfed are at a manifold higher risk of morbidity and mortality than breastfed children.” 3

 

Group Support and Peer to Peer Counseling

Isolation and alienation can be devastating to the refugee/migrant population. Women come to AMURTEL not only for physical care but also for creating friendships and community. Support groups, besides being educational, offer this level of connection and aid a mother’s resilience

AMURTEL’s support groups focus on areas of critical importance such as:

    • Infant feeding with an emphasis on breastfeeding and the timely and appropriate introduction of solids
    • Reproductive health and family planning with referral to other health care facilities in situations of domestic violence
    • A broad range of infant care topics with the aim of dispelling myths and superstitions while honoring valid traditional practices
    • Preparation for birth in a Greek hospital
    • Guidance to mothers on what to expect and how to navigate the public health system
    • First aid for children as well as caring for children during illness
    • Stress reduction techniques for mothers
Outreach

Women in camps and community centers who cannot come to AMURTEL benefit from all our services through the outreach program. We are currently offering educational support groups and/or midwifery care in three camps and seven community venues.

Read a selection of articles that are talking about our projects here!