Meeting the rights of children and women
Institute of Public Health is setting priorities for a future health system in Kosovë/Kosovo. A number of projects are being funded by various donors to lay a framework for a national health policy and a future sustainable health system. The UK Department for International Development (DFID) has contributed £ 1 million for a project based in the Kosovë/Kosovo Institute for Public Health (IPH) aimed at meeting three main goals:
- improving immunisation coverage by developing cold chain and monitoring systems, and eventually integrating the programme into primary care;
- raising food and water quality control across Kosovë/Kosovo and implementing a cost-effective model for the management of microbiological laboratories;
- developing guidelines and protocols on all areas of public health for professional training and public health promotion activities.
Other key activities, such as epidemiological surveillance, are funded by other donors, while the crucial re-establishment of a health information system, estimated to cost some US$ 4 million, is currently the subject of a proposal of the WHO to the European Union.
The IPH is reformulating, in line with the principles of the DFID funded project, its structure and role, to become the technical and intellectual engine of public health policy, planning and standard-setting to making its current outposts the technical backbone of future regional health offices
Field Unit in Mitrovicë/Mitrovica reports that the immunisation team of Mitrovicë/Mitrovica has moved to new premises in Mitrovicë/Mitrovica South -Institute of Public health building. UNICEF delivered one fridge, one starter kit, and an emergency kit -supplementary equipment, 3 electrical heaters and doctor's coats. The cold chain equipment has been delivered to the Serbian municipalities following this distribution plan: 1 fridge to Bajë/Banjska, 1 fridge to Zeronicë/Zeronica, 1 fridge to Zvecan/Zvecane Health House, 1 fridge to Immunisation centre in Mitrovicë/Mitrovica North.
To date, out of over 1,200 school buildings in Kosovë/Kosovo, 873 have been committed for repair, 271 are in the process of repair, and 379 have been completed. UNICEF has directly funded 35 of the completed schools.
Primary school furniture ordered from Macedonia continues to arrive. To date, 61,532 chairs; 35,887 desks and 2,682 blackboards have been distributed.
The DESK (Designing an Education System for Kosovë/Kosovo) process is ongoing. UNICEF is participating in the System Design Team meetings as well as in the working group on primary and pre-primary education. The reviews of each of the sub-systems of education (pre-primary, primary, secondary and higher) are complete and were presented to the System Design Team on Tuesday 7 March. UNICEF participated in the meeting and assisted with the summarizing of the presentations for further discussion on 21 March. The System Design Team will meet again on 21 March with an international expert to discuss the system reviews and identified problems.
An extended meeting of the Consortium of Donors for the Printing of Textbooks was held on Wednesday 8 March. The meeting was held in order to assess the progress to date and the future of the Textbook Consortium of Donors. To date 131 titles (approx. 2 million individual copies) have been printed and distributed. UNICEF Prishtinë/Pristina is supporting the publishing and shipment of Bosnian textbooks from Sarajevo to Kosovë/Kosovo for immediate distribution to Bosnian schoolchildren.
UNICEF is working closely with UNMIK on psychosocial programme activities. UNICEF will assist in the revision of guidelines for NGOs proposing to start projects in Kosovë/Kosovo. All NGOs need approval from UNMIK before they embark upon their projects. UNICEF and its psychosocial consultant will meet with the Regional UNMIK Education representatives in Pejë/Pec on 15 March to begin discussions aimed at setting up Regional Project Teams for the implementation of the UNICEF/CCP psychosocial programme in Pejë/Pec.
UNICEF project for catch-up education for Ashkalia in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje: Out of 31 applications for the posts of teachers and support staff, 15 short-listed candidates have been interviewed this week by UNICEF together with the UNMIK Education representative and the Kosovar Albanian municipal Education representative. Three elementary school teachers (two Kosovar Albanians, one Ashkalia), one preschool teacher and one support staff have been selected. They will be trained and briefed next week and should start with the classes the following week.
Prishtinë/Pristina Field Unit is already preparing the basis to extend this model project throughout Pristina Area of Responsibility in cooperation with UNMIK, OSCE and UNHCR. List of Ashkalia children not attending any school are currently being compiled for Lipjan/Lipljane, Shtime/Stimlje, Obilic and Prishtinë/Pristina. The Kosovar Albanian Director of a school in Lipjan/Lipljane, who heard about the model-project in Fushë Kosovë/Kosovo Polje, approached UNICEF Prishtinë/Pristina Field Unit with a request for support to set up a similar project for the region of his village (Ruvce i ri/Novi Ruvc). UNICEF is liaising with UNMIK to develop a systematic approach.
Four Serbian Kosovar children are not attending school in the municipality of Shtime/Stimlje. The nearest school in Serbian language is in Lipjan/Lipljane and KFOR does not have the capacity to organise their transport. OSCE helped in finding an accommodation for those children to stay in Lipjan/Lipljane during the weekdays, including the possibility for the mother of the children to stay there with them. However, the parents refuse to accept the offer. KFOR and OSCE asked UNICEF to meet with the parents and brief them on the rights of the child to education.
Children abandoned in the Prishtinë/Pristina Hospital: Another newborn baby was abandoned on 27/02. Field Unit Prishtinë/Pristina is concerned about the lack of efforts by the Social Worker of the maternity and pediatrics and by the Centre for Social Welfare in following up on the 20 cases now remaining in the hospital. In three cases, the parents brought their sick child to the hospital and stopped visiting the child after a while. Their identities and addresses are known, but no actions undertaken. The efforts of the Centre for Social Welfare in finding foster families are also very limited. Instead of taking action regarding this relatively low number of cases, the social worker of the hospital keeps referring to her wish that an institution for abandoned children be opened in Kosovë/Kosovo. Prishtinë/Pristina Field Unit is trying to push for the 20 current cases to be resolved and liaising with ICRC and regional Centre for Social Welfare. The Children in Need of Special Protection (CNSPM) cluster is working with UNMIK Social Welfare on a strategy to use local media to publicize the need for foster families.
In order to prevent further cases, UNICEF is starting a project for social services in hospital maternity units through out Kosovë/Kosovo. The project will start in Gjilan/Gnjilane hospital next week. The project is to train medical staff in the hospital on how to provide women with support and give assistance for those who may initially not want to keep their infant.
UNICEF Information and CNSPM sections contributed to the launch of an exhibition of photographers by local and international women and an exhibition of children's drawings on the subject of a "Violence Free Kosovë/Kosovo." The exhibition opened in Prishtinë/Pristina on the International Women's Day and will remain open for two weeks. After two weeks the exhibition will travel to other parts of Kosovë/Kosovo.
UNICEF continues to participate in the working group on Domestic Violence, reviewing the 1973 Kosovar legislation to ensure maximum protection for women and children. The current objective is to evaluate the existing laws and make recommendations for reform.
UNICEF juvenile justice program visit continues to detention centres, where juvenile suspects are being detained, to assess if the human and legal rights of minors are being met, and using the UNICEF chaired Juvenile Justice task force to advocate where there are violations.
Task force meeting, chaired by UNICEF, on Juvenile Justice was held last week. In this meeting it was agreed to draft joint recommendation for clarification of non-applicability of the Reg.1999/26 for extension on pre-trial detention in the procedures regarding juveniles
UNICEF Child protection officer took part to an evaluation of the situation of the children in the school for deaf and mute children in Prizren, together with UNMIK Education staff. The statement of children in this school was far below acceptable standards. UNICEF requested UNMIK to take immediate action where the Kosovar Albanian Director with a temporary international. UNICEF will keep collaborating with UNMIK to ensure the situation improves quickly. An NGO will be identified to take over the management of the school with specific terms of references, with the main objective being to improve the standards of care and assess the possibility of abuse.
Mine Awareness cluster will support Puppet Theatre Dodona in Prishtinë/Pristina with a puppet show which will be travelling to perform in other parts of Kosovë/Kosovo, such as Gjakova/Djakovica, Kacanik, Podujevë/Podujevo, Prizren and Ferizaj/Urosevac which are heavily mined areas.
Mine Awareness cluster is due to produce new set of spring mine awareness spots. The testing group, PRISM Research and the TV producer have been contacted for testing and producing of new TV spots.
IOM was approached with the request to assist in distributing mine awareness posters. IOM agreed to help in this and discussions are ongoing about the logistic part of the work.
This week Mine Awareness cluster distributed 3.000 posters, 12 training bags and 220 T-shirts.
For more information on UNICEF, visit its web site at http://www.unicef.org