Refugee Council’s Health Befriending Network recognised at European conference

An international conference in Brussels has recognised the achievements of the Refugee Council’s Health Befriending Network.

The conference which was focused on Optimising Childbirth, featured almost 100 presentations from speakers all around the world.

Former Refugee Council Health Befriending Network Coordinator Rose McCarthy was joined by two former health befrienders Jackie Ingham and Dasha Pluto to share their experiences of the scheme with delegates.

Jackie and Dasha shared their experiences of befriending pregnant asylum seekers and refugees. They received a prize for delivering one of the best presentations of the conference.

Rose said: "I was delighted to collect the prize with Dasha and Jackie; I passionately believe that migrant women’s voices should be heard and we should be working with them, not for them.

Rose thanked the City of Sanctuary and NCT for providing funds to enable the migrant women to attend the conference.

Unfortunately funding for the Health Befriending Network ended in March, but many of the volunteers now work with Rose for City of Sanctuary’s Maternity Stream.

The Maternity Stream plans to create a translating app which would enable midwives and women who don’t speak English to communicate effectively about maternity services.

It also plans to create two special DVDs; one for women to explain how and why they should access maternity services when they are pregnant and one for health professionals which explores the needs and experiences of pregnant asylum seekers and refugees.

Both films will soon be available at

Workshop for refugees on dealing with Secondary or Vicarious Trauma

Wave of Polish immigration to UK is over, says Ambassador Sobkow