The University of St Andrews UNICEF on Campus society welcomed health and development professionals to St. Andrews on the 7th and 8th of April for their ‘Migration and Health’ Symposium fundraising event.
The biggest success of the weekend was the panel discussion event between the speakers fostering a productive and honest conversation about the realities of global public health in 2017.
Dr. Tamer Aker, the chief health supervisor at Kilis Refugee Camp, the most crowded camp in Turkey, provided an overview of his experience dealing with the mental health challenges that manifest in crisis migration situations. Being a refugee is a high risk factor for mental health problems such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and this is becoming an increasing challenge for Turkey in the resettlement of Syrian refugees.
His perspective was complemented by Mirella Alexou from ERCI, a greek NGO that provides emergency response and humanitarian aid in life threatening environments. Ms. Alexou emphasised the need for cooperation between the public and private sector in order to alleviate capacity building gaps in crisis situations.
Bharti Patel CEO of ECPAT UK, a leading children’s rights charity campaigning against child trafficking and transnational child exploitation emphasised the increased vulnerability of children in the refugee crisis to trafficking and the consequent mental health implications.
A highly informative and perspective-broadening event, the panel members encouraged the audience to take the next step and move from discussion to action and contribute to making progress overcoming the so-called European Migration Crisis.
On behalf of the UNICEF Symposium Committee we would like to extend our deepest thanks to the University of St Andrews Medical School for their sponsorship which enabled us to host our established speakers in St. Andrews.