International Activity Report 2012
MSF in Italy, 2012
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Gaps in healthcare persist for migrants and asylum seekers arriving in Italy. Migrants without papers are detained for up to 18 months in Centers for Identification and Expulsion. Health services, which have been subcontracted to private firms, lack coordination. Tuberculosis (TB) and other neglected diseases are poorly diagnosed and treated, despite national protocols. In the centers in Caltanissetta, Milan, Rome and Trapani, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) worked with the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and private entities managing the centers to improve the quality of care. A mobile medical team advised and trained medical personnel working at the centers to detect and treat TB.
Screening and treating Chagas disease
Some migrants have been diagnosed with Chagas, a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of an insect most prevalent in Latin America and almost unknown in Italy. MSF shared its knowledge of the disease with the Ministry of Health and other parties involved in migrant health. In the northern city of Bergamo, in collaboration with Verona hospital and Italian association OIKOS, MSF teams met with Latin American migrants to screen for Chagas and arrange treatment. MSF is helping develop standard procedures in Italy for the prevention, detection and treatment of the disease.
Caring for the homeless in Milan
In December, MSF opened a program to provide medical care to homeless people discharged from hospital, most of whom have chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, and require follow-up. Some patients were also suffering from conditions exacerbated by the cold, such as bronchitis and respiratory tract infections.
At the end of 2012 MSF had 5 staff in Italy. MSF has been working in the country since 1999.