- About Us
- Our Work
- Work With MSF
- Public Events
- Press Room
MSF in Italy, 2006
All articles on Italy »
Italy receives thousands of migrants arriving by boat from Africa each year. Upon arrival, many of these people are weakened and in need of food, water and medical attention. In 2005/2006, MSF provided medical care for over 20,000 recent arrivals and migrant workers and opened new projects to reach more people in need.
Since 2003, MSF has opened health clinics for migrants lacking legal status in various regions of the country including Rome, Sicily and Campania. The clinics operate as part of the national healthcare service and use anonymous codes to protect patient identity. The clinics’ goals are to treat these vulnerable people, inform them of their legal and healthcare rights and gradually hand over activities to local health authorities.
In mid-2005, MSF started a new project in Naples, providing healthcare for undocumented immigrants living in one of the most difficult, violent and complex Italian social-economic environments. Here immigrants live in ghettos completely excluded from the rest of Italian society.
At the end of 2005, a new project with clinics for undocumented immigrants was opened in the Sicilian town of Agrigento. One of the main problems detected by MSF in this area concerns mother and childcare, and barriers to accessing abortion.
Assistance at landings in the South
MSF staff examine newly arrived migrants at the harbour landing of Lampedusa.
Lampedusa, a small island south of Sicily, is a landing spot for more than 12,000 immigrants per year. MSF offers initial medical screening at the harbour where boat people land after hazardous trips through the Mediterranean Sea, and follows up on any urgent medical referrals. Similar assistance is provided on Sicily’s southern coast.
Seasonal farm workers’ project
In southern Italy, where agriculture is the main economic activity, thousands of asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants work as day labourers on farms. In 2005/2006, MSF provided medical care to seasonal farm workers in Sicily, Puglia and Calabria. Main pathologies detected were related to harsh living and working conditions, such as gastrointestinal disorders, dermatological and respiratory diseases or musculoskeletal pathologies.
MSF has worked in Italy since 1999.