Communities and migrants: How to respond to the Coronavirus?

Communities and migrants: How to respond to the Coronavirus?


What is a coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a family of viruses, some of which only affect animals whilst others can also cause illness in humans. The most recently discovered coronavirus, COVID-19, causes coronavirus disease, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus, which became known in Wuhan, China, in December 2019.

Common symptoms include: aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhea. The virus is spread through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales.

What is the best way to respond to the Coronavirus?

Be Safe from the coronavirus infection by reducing the spread of the infection and your contact with harmful bacteria.

The World Health Organization suggests these 7 steps:

  1. Wash your hands frequently
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose
  3. Cover your cough with the inside of your elbow or a tissue
  4. Avoid crowded places
  5. Stay at home if you feel unwell – even if it’s a slight fever and cough
  6. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early but call by phone first
  7. Stay aware of the latest information

Be Smart by staying informed about the latest updates by using trusted sources of information. The World Health Organization is regularly releasing updates and situation reports whilst national and local public health authorities are also issuing relevant and helpful advice.

Be Kind by supporting others. Do not stigmatize or discriminate against certain groups because of their ethnic background. In many contexts, persons who migrate to work, study or join their families are in good health and form a critical part of national communities, including health-care systems. Therefore, migrants, regardless of their legal status, should not be stigmatized or associated with the risk of importing diseases. In most cases, there is no direct connection to disease just because people may be migrants.

Be considerate of the needs of others and what you can do to help. Remember that, whilst you may not be a member of the most vulnerable populations for the virus, you can still play a part in reducing its spread by following the steps above.

How can COVID19 spread among migrants?

Conditions surrounding the migration process, not the individuals, such as barriers to health services, poor living and working conditions and exploitation, that can pose health risks. It is important that governments take a migrant-inclusive approach to ensure that all migrants regardless of their legal status, and other non-nationals, are considered in public health planning, response and messaging. This means: the use of adequate language, culturally appropriate recommendations and treatment modalities, and ensuring that all migrants, in regular or irregular situations, can access health services, without fear of stigma, arrest or deportation, among other things.

How has misinformation affected the outbreak?

“Our greatest enemy right now is not the coronavirus itself. It’s fear, rumours and stigma. And our greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity,” according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

From a public health perspective, the risk of exclusion and stigmatization may result in migrants hiding in their symptoms rather than seeking treatment. This puts everyone at risk of getting sick. We can all play a role in identifying and challenging misinformation online, whilst sharing information from trustworthy sources, in order to reduce panic, xenophobia and the spread of misinformation.

Turn on the microphones! Five keys to giving youth a voice on migration issues

Turn on the microphones! Five keys to giving youth a voice on migration issues
Categoria: Communication & Migration
Autor: Guest Contributor

Radio is still a medium that, especially in rural areas where access to the Internet is difficult, is still very much alive and shows itself to be an accessible alternative for the population. Whether in the car, in an app on the phone or in a device that only works with batteries in the most remote areas, the radio is there a few steps away and almost effortlessly. Entertaining us, informing us and accompanying our daily activities. From the largest cities to the most sparsely populated municipalities, radio is an industry that generates jobs and is vital for the dissemination of mass messages to a wide variety of audiences.

How can radio be harnessed as an avenue to empower young people about migration?

After seeing the high impact that this media has on the culture of our communities, these are some actions to be taken that will allow us to bring the message of regular, orderly and safe migration to a youth who may be victims of crimes associated with irregular migration:

  • Find out about community radio or radio stations in your city: This will help you to know all the spaces that exist within the community and to identify the audiences they are aimed at in order to choose the right channel that connects with young people.
  • Identify young leaders in their communities with communication skills: There is no better way to communicate with youth than through voices they can empathize with and identify with.
  • Create content that connects: Talking about migration does not require a serious or monotonous tone. Try to create short but effective messages with easy to understand language and prioritizing the use of storytelling instead of communicating concepts.
  • Create your own online radio station: The radio has undergone a significant evolution in recent years and proof of this is that the number of Internet radio stations has been increasing, which has led to the democratization of radio. You no longer need big budgets to have your own radio station and broadcast different contents 24 hours a day, this is a good alternative if there are not or do not have access to have space on traditional radio stations.
  • Develop empowering initiatives: Young people possess many talents: dynamism, fast learning and, of course, a lot of creativity. Therefore generating training spaces on radio production issues will help to discover hidden talents and form new opinion leaders, without leaving behind the importance of also empowering them on migration issues, this will allow them to transmit better messages that promote a safe, orderly and regular human mobility and will help them themselves to make better decisions regarding migration.

A success story of such activities is 'Youth on the Airwaves', a workshop on radio and migration that harnesses the energy of young people who are leaders in their communities and shows them the potential of the radio industry as a method of generating livelihoods and making their voices heard.

As a product of this initiative, the young people created their own radio spots to promote a better informed migration, from the ideation of the creative concept, script development, voice-over practice, recording and editing, in all these processes they received the support of both IOM staff and a team of experts in radio production.

A few years ago, former United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon stressed that "radio is very important to make the voice of youth heard, it stimulates the imagination and shortens the distances between people". One more reason to bring the media closer and generate spaces for youth in order to disseminate messages aimed at providing the population with sufficient and verified information that will allow them to make better decisions before embarking on a migratory route.