A three-day deadline for the future of a 10-month-old baby!

23 February 2019

You have only 3 days for the future of the child” was the message and the deadline that “The Smile of the Child” received on Thursday, 21st of February from the legal office of an Organization for refugees in order to carry out an air operation for the transfer of a mother and her baby facing a serious health problem.


With the initiation of an urgent procedure, given the deadline of the respective decision for its reunification in Germany communicated to the family, the entire mechanism and infrastructure of the Organization “The Smile of the Child” was mobilized and a marathon of communications with the Asylum Office, the Embassy of Germany, public authorities, private actors began in order to ensure that the little girl from Afghanistan and her mother will be transferred safely to Germany where other members of their family live. And what appeared to be impossible was actually made possible!


The air transfer was successfully carried out on Saturday, the 23th of February.  The operation started from the Home of the Organization in Kareas, Attica, where the Mobile Medical Unit of Intensive Care for Newborns and Children of the Organization (ambulance), a pediatric anesthesiologist Mr. Emmanouil Gliatis and the pediatrician of the Organization received the infant and subsequently headed to the International Airport of Athens. There, a private air ambulance with Germany as its final destination was waiting for the family, while a pediatrician of the Organization was also there in order to inform the crew on the health situation of the child.


One more air transfer had a successful ending. However, this story had started many months earlier when “The Smile of the Child” received a request from an accommodation facility for refugees and migrants for the provision of pediatric care services at home.  From the first moment the specialized multidisciplinary team of the Organization, comprised of psychologists, social workers, pediatricians, nursing staff, physiotherapists and interpreters, stood by the family, providing systematically and in cooperation with the assigned doctors the necessary holistic medical support.


It is worthwhile to mention that the child had to remain hospitalized at the Children’s Hospital for a long period of time due to multiple infections.  During her hospitalization “The Smile of the Child” was next to the child, providing the necessary transfers with its specialized Mobile Medical Unit of Intensive Care for Newborns and Children (ambulances), while social workers provided psychosocial support and counseling to the mother. The need for cooperation with the nursing and medical personnel and social services of the Hospital was crucial in order to ensure a holistic and multi-faceted response to the needs of the child and her mother.  


A bridge of love and humanity was set up successfully thanks to the gigantic efforts of all the people involved, but mainly thanks to the precious contribution and prompt response of Mrs. Klelia Xatzioannou, who covered the costs of the transfer and proved once more time her sensitivity and substantial contribution to the work of the Organization. We would like to warmly thank her!


“The Smile of the Child” has supported many children and infants with increased medical needs, providing medical and psychosocial services in the framework of the “Direct and Holistic Medical and Psychosocial Intervention for Refugee and Migrant Children in Danger in Greece” project.   


The project is carried out with the support of the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations of the European Union (DG ECHO) in close and continuous cooperation with the authorities and the organizations that have the overall oversight of the beneficiaries as well as the Children’s Hospitals that bear the medical responsibility for these children.


With the promise to remain next to the family, we would like to wish our young patient a fast recovery and to the family a very warm welcome to the new host country and life in Germany.