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CHEO joins effort to prepare for health needs of Syrian refugees arriving in Canada
The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) has joined the Refugee 613 effort to coordinate Ottawa’s response to the global refugee crisis. We are pleased to work with our partners on the Refugee 613 Health Task Force to respond to the health needs of the Syrian refugee children and youth expected to arrive in Eastern Ontario this winter.
“The war in Syria has affected millions, and the most devastating impact has been on children and babies driven with their families from their homes, left without shelter, education or health care. No child decides to become a refugee,” says Alex Munter, President and CEO of CHEO. “We’re eager to help by sharing our expertise, including the international experience on our team of health professionals.”
“Refugee children and families come from very vulnerable situations. Providing them with needed health care as soon as they arrive is extremely important,” says Dr. Lindy Samson, Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at CHEO. She believes that delays in treatment and services would lead to poorer outcomes and long-term consequences.
CHEO specialists are supporting child and youth refugee health in several ways:
  • CHEO is already working in the community for refugee care. A CHEO pediatrician works in partnership with staff at the Centretown Community Health Centre to consult on pediatric cases, the majority of whom are refugees.
  • CHEO clinicians have led the way in developing an internationally recognized online resource Developed by the Canadian Paediatric Society with input from a range of experts and organizations, Caring for Kids New to Canada has evidence-based information on assessing and screening patients, medical conditions, health promotion, child development, and much more. It includes the effect on health of culture, social and environmental conditions, health care systems and public policy.
  • CHEO’s pharmacy department developed a software called Picto Rx which can translate medication information into Arabic and other languages. Picto Rx is free to download for any pharmacist around the world on the FIP website: The Picto Rx pictograms provide a means of communicating medication instructions when there is no common language. The software helps pharmacists to build visual instructions, information sheets and medication calendars for their patients.
  • On November 25, CHEO will hold its 4th annual Global Health Day on migrant health, with a keynote address by Dr. Morton Beiser of Ryerson University on safeguarding the mental health of resettled refugees.
Because of the trauma and living conditions the refugees have experienced, mental and physical health care as well as health information and vaccination will be especially important to getting kids and families settled into Canadian life.

About CHEO
The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) is the pediatric hospital of Canada’s capital and helps over 500,000 children and youth each year. CHEO has more than 2,500 doctors, nurses and staff dedicated to providing the best possible care for the children and youth of Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec, Nunavut and parts of Northern Ontario.

CHEO works closely with the University of Ottawa as a teaching hospital and fosters groundbreaking research through the CHEO Research Institute. CHEO’s vision is to change young lives in our community, while our innovation changes young lives around the world.

About Refugee 613
Refugee 613 is co-ordinating Ottawa’s response to the global refugee crisis. We’re here to give the public reliable information on local and global efforts, and inspire others to step up for refugee relief. Refugee 613 believes that by working together, we can help more vulnerable people make new lives in Ottawa, and contribute to the health and vitality of our city for generations to come.
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For more information, please contact:
Marie Belanger
Public Relations Officer

CHEO Social Media:
Twitter: @CHEOhospital
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