Together for Children's Health

27.March 2019

In the past month, conditions have dramatically worsened in the Vathy camp of Samos, as it becomes hopelessly overcrowded. Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has therefore repeatedly sent a medical team to the island. For a now planned vaccination campaign, they ask the support of RED NOSES healthcare clowns, to reach nearly 600 children.

The Vathy camp currently houses more than 4,100 people in a location that was destined for 650. Thousands of them are forced to remain defenceless in the unsanitary and unsafe surroundings of the official camp.

The goal of RED NOSES clowns was to create a fearless and relaxed atmosphere during the three intense days of the vaccination campaign. The clowns in the waiting tent created a positive, happy and playful experience for the children; to ease the waiting time, while the other clowns accompanied the children and their parents during the moment of vaccination, to lessen the fear of the children when it was at its highest. The campaign was so intense that some kids got over four vaccines in one day.

"Because of the extremely difficult and unacceptable living conditions in the Greek islands, it is especially important for our young patients to experience moments when they can be happy and laugh. That's why working with RED NOSES International on this extensive vaccination campaign on Samos is very valuable to us" says Laura Leyser, CEO of Doctors Without Borders Austria.

Due to the challenging living conditions of these refugee camps, including the lack of basic sanitation and extremely limited access to healthcare, migrant children living there are extremely vulnerable to illnesses. This campaign was particularly important to prevent an even greater healthcare crisis in Samos, where more than 500 refugee children were vaccinated thanks to the common effort of our healthcare clowns and the MSF medical staff. Overall, RED NOSES helped facilitate a smoother and easier atmosphere in which the campaign was successfully developed.

*We want to thank the Alta Mane Foundation for supporting us with this short mission to Samos.