Press Release: The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET) and Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) Relaunch the Children Immunization App (CImA) at Za’atari Refugee Camp

Amman, Jordan – 25 January 2021

UNODC collaborated with the research team at JUST and EMPHNET to launch an updated version of the CImA App, incorporating parenting and caregiving under COVID-19 tools. The Children Immunization App (CImA) in its original version, is a mobile phone application designed to support refugees in Za’atari camp, by i) providing access to trustworthy, evidence-based vaccine information; and ii) recording vaccination history for children according to the Jordanian national vaccination guidelines.[1]  Now in its updated format, it would cover valuable UNODC parenting information on the best means to care for children during COVID19 including in crowded and refugee settings (LINK to App).

UNODC has been working on enhancing family skills for the prevention of substance use and violence (including against children) as well as supporting mental health in line with the UNODC WHO International Standards on Drug Use Prevention. Such family skills focus on nurturing positive communication and attachment as well as maintaining age-appropriate rules and discipline to ensure youth’s safe and healthy development.

COVID-19 related stress, either directly from the anxiety linked to the virus, from the preventive modalities around it (including school closure, physical distancing, working from home, etc..) or indirectly from its socio-economic impact on families and communities (ongoing and anticipated) carried a significant toll on vulnerabilities of youth and their immediate families.

This includes vulnerabilities linked to different negative coping mechanisms including substance and alcohol use, violence and more. UNODC developed material to support families under such circumstances with specific requisites for caregivers in crowded or refugee settings.

On a parallel track, the need for children vaccination among refugees is crucial as they may be exposed to crowded locations or low vaccinated areas. Thus, spreading awareness about the health benefits of vaccination, using automated reminders, and reducing the risk of losing their vaccination documents became a high priority.[2] Moreover, Smartphone ownership, Android in particular, among refugees is considered high. 

The app was first developed by the Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) and the Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (EMPHNET), in collaboration with the Jordanian Ministry of Health (MoH), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and UNICEF[3]. The seed grant was from Grand Challenges Canada, funded by the Government of Canada. The Za’atari camp, which is considered one of the biggest refugee camps in the Middle East with 80,000 residents, was benefiting from the introduction process of the App and will now expand the usage with its UNODC updated version.

Funded by the Government of Japan, the CImA App is currently updated to include: i) health education sheets provided by UNICEF, ii) registration of the children's vaccination schedule, iii) automated reminder for parents for the upcoming vaccination appointment and iv) automated reminder for the parents in case they missed the vaccination appointment of their child and v) and now parenting skills materials developed by UNODC and translated into Arabic for the parents in the camp to support them during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The collaboration aims to benefit families already subscribed to the app while also including 1000 additional households during a period of two months, to bolster the synergistic outcome the beneficiary families would get from the vaccination as well as the parenting and caregiving content, support parents and children regarding vaccine-preventable diseases and COVID-19 related outcomes. The learning outcome of the piloting of this app could potentially be replicated to many other families in refugee or community settings. 

This app is available through the Google Play Store: Click here to download CImA  

Information for parents and other caregivers in crowded communities or refugees’ settings during the COVID19 pandemic 

For more information please contact:

Wadih Maalouf

UNODC Global Programme Coordinator for the Prevention, Treatment and Rehabilitation Section

wadih.maalouf[at]un.org

Yomna Abou Hussein

 National Programme Officer, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice

yomna.abouhussein[at]un.org

 

[1] Ziad El-Khatib-Soha El-Halabi-Mohamad Khdeir-Yousef Khader, “Children Immunization App (CImA), Low-cost Digital Solution For Supporting Syrian Refugees in Zaatari Camp in Jordan — General Description.”  Volume 271: dHealth 2020 – Biomedical Informatics for Health and Care (2020). http://ebooks.iospress.nl/publication/54500

[2] Ibid.

[3] Khader Y.S., Laflamme L, Schmid D, El-Halabi S, Abu Khdeir M, Sengoelge M, Tahtamouni M, Derrough T, El-Khatib Z; Children Immunization App (CImA) Among Syrian Refugees in Zaatari Camp, Jordan: Protocol for a cluster Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial Intervention Study; JMIR Res Protocols, 2019 Oct 7; 8(10): e13557. https://www.researchprotocols.org/2019/10/e13557/