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  • HEIKENS, Geert Tom, CLOUS, Charlotte, VAN DER ZAND, Janna, SAMSON, Bernice, BROKX, Ingrid and TAP, Carina, 2018. Community engagement as early intervention supported the integration of asylum seeking Syrian families: the role of child health practitioners in the Netherlands. In: ISSOP2018 - Early Childhood Intervention: Science, Systems and Policies - Promoting Healthy Development of Vulnerable Children [online]. Bonn, Germany: DGSPJ. 29 September 2018. p. 1–120. [Accessed 4 November 2018]. Available from: https://www.issop.org/cmdownloads/heikens-van-der-zand-samson-issop-2018/

    Background: 2014-6 saw an influx of close to 100,000 Syrian people seeking asylum. While this was not the highest influx in 25 years many aspects of reception had to be (re)invented against a background of heightened (inter)national xenophobic anxiety in receiving these families. Nonetheless, 2 years on many Syrian people seeking asylum received an asylum status and were allowed to reunite in the Netherlands with their families which initially remained in Syria. An ad hoc consortium of 2 Knowledge centres with the formal National Council of Municipalities developed the OTAV programme which prepared and introduced, via 24 dedicated professional regional coordinators, more than 50 cultural specific and sensitive modules on how to integrate into Dutch communities. Child Health professionals (nurses and community paediatricians) were closely involved in the development of all steps of OTAV and used these materials in daily community paediatric clinics.

    Method: Descriptive: reporting the role and contributions of child health practitioners and TOGETHER

    Results: As the data are still being collected no definitive results can be reported yet but will be in September.

    Discussion: The OTAV programme, as a well-funded 18 mo. lasting joint venture supported by the Dutch government, prove to be highly successful in bringing Syrian families together with Dutch communities and their members. Regular Community Child Health services played an essential role herein as well in integrating Syrian children in their regular surveillance programme. The development of these activities, the different (new) roles of the professionals herein as well as the progress will be discussed and compared with the experiences by TOGETHER. In addition TOGETHERs experiences in training child health professionals ( community paediatricians, clinic-based paediatricians and other) will be presented.

    Authors, Institutions: Geert Tom Heikens, Charlotte Clous, Janna van der Zand, Bernice Samson, Ingrid Brokx and Carina Tap

    TOGETHER, Netherlands