Slovenia has become a central transit country for refugees seeking asylum in Europe. As of early 2015, the Balkans have been used as a pathway to Northern Europe for many people forcibly displaced as a result of the conflict in Syria and neighboring countries.
Due to the March 2016 agreement to close the Balkan migration route, refugees are now settling Slovenia. However, the closure of borders and the potentially traumatic experiences endured during their displacement, refugees are unable to foresee improvements in their situations.
WAHA International aimed to deliver high quality healthcare to meet the needs of refugees in Slovenia. We have partnered with UNICEF to respond to the needs of vulnerable children and mothers living in the two main asylum centers in Slovenia: Ljubljana and Logatec. Family reunification remains challenging, leaving many unaccompanied minors living in asylum centers in Postojna and Nova Gorica.
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Within the asylum centers of Ljubljana and Logatec as well as the unaccompanied minor/student dormitory in Postojna and in Nova Gorica, WAHA deployed multidisciplinary medical team that included a pediatrician, a child psychologist, and a translator. The medical team performed a variety of tasks including medical consultations, diagnosis and treatment for children, adolescents, and mothers. Predominant services included:
- Medical consultations
- Breastfeeding and feeding consultations
- Providing immunizations for unvaccinated children
- Referrals to Hospitals
Participatory workshops were also organized to create a positive space for parents to share their concerns and feel supported in their host country. Through these workshops, parents expressed the challenges associated with social integration for themselves and their children. Language classes and psychosocial support were identified as key components for improving the lives of refugee women and children in Slovenia.
Until spring 2016, WAHA worked in Dobava, Livarna and Šentilj to provide medical care and relief services for refugees.
WAHA worked closely with local NGOs and existing facilities to ensure that we best served the needs of the population. Links with local health authorities ensured that WAHA’s services were integrated into the existing system, which improved access.