Since the peak of the migration crisis in 2015, AMURTEL has worked to create safe women’s spaces for highly vulnerable refugee/migrant mothers and infants from pregnancy through two years after birth. Our all-women team of midwives, lactation consultants and support personnel provide care in our day center as well as in refugee camps, squats, shelters and other refugee accommodations in the wider Athens area.
Women coming to AMURTEL are primarily from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and many African countries. Our social and medical services are offered in Farsi, Arabic, French and English.
We believe all mothers have the right and the capacity to maintain or restore their health, well-being, dignity and self-determination. AMURTEL’s aim is to empower women to be the best possible mothers they can be even in situations of upheaval and thus giving their infants the best possible start in life.
- Antenatal and postnatal care by midwives
- Breastfeeding and infant nutrition support from lactation consultants
- Educational support groups
- Peer counseling training
- Outreach to refugee camps and other venues
Antenatal and Postnatal Care by midwives
Due to linguistic and cultural barriers, refugee and migrant women have great difficulty in accessing services in the public health system and thus often do not receive adequate care during pregnancy and after birth. AMURTEL’s midwives strive to provide not only medical examinations but also a safe space to discuss fears, ask questions, and offer preparation for birth in a Greek hospital.
Breastfeeding and Infant Nutrition with lactation consultants
Breastfeeding is not only the optimum nutrition for infants but also provides deep and long lasting protection for infant development in times of emergency. Most of the mothers coming to AMURTEL believe that their breastmilk is insufficient in both quality and quantity and a great number have been advised by medical professionals to give formula to their infants. Added to this are anxieties about how to feed infants once solid foods have been introduced.
AMURTEL’s all woman’s milieu provides the ideal scenario that allows for discussion of fears and anxieties, decreases the overwhelming sense of isolation, and allows mothers to access their innate knowledge and basic instincts about mothering an infant.
Educational Support Groups
The groups aim to support and educate mothers as well as assist them in forming community bonds with other women in their similar situation. Many women coming to AMURTEL are from small villages where education is little or none for females and these sessions are enormously empowering.
The topics include
- Reproductive health literacy and family planning
- Gender based violence awareness
- Breastfeeding and all aspects of infant nutrition
- Infant care including care of newborns, sleep patterns, sibling adjustment to new a newborn, safety in the home, etc.
- Mothering skills, responsive parenting, infant cues and communication with infants, etc.
- First aid for infants and children
- Assistance in understanding how to access community services through use of smartphone apps
Peer Support Training
AMURTEL provides breastfeeding peer counseling training so that the mothers themselves may better assist other mothers in their own languages and culturally appropriate ways.
Our outreach team of midwives, lactation consultants and interpreters visit refugee camps and other refugee accommodations in the urban area in order to provide maternal-child health services both individually and in groups.