Our work in Italy

Inadequate reception systems fail migrants and refugees

In Turin, hundreds of migrants and refugees occupy the four buildings of "Ex-MOI" (former 2006 Olympic Village) where they face harsh living conditions such as overcrowding, no heat, and frequent disruptions to water and electricity.
Italy 2019 © Giuseppe La Rosa/MSF
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How MSF is fighting COVID-19 in Italy

In Rome, we have been tasked by local health authorities to manage contact tracing and isolation for COVID-19 clusters in 10 buildings housing squats and one informal settlement, where migrants, refugees, and some Italian nationals live. Due to the increase of COVID-19 cases in Rome, our team refocused our operational strategy by giving more importance to response preparedness, rather than prevention. In collaboration with the residents of the spaces where we are responding, we have promoted the creation of hygiene and health surveillance committees that can monitor the presence of suspected COVID-19 cases, alert the authorities and act quickly to temporarily isolate suspect cases, and disinfect any contaminated spaces. This active surveillance system is proving effective.

In Palermo, MSF supports with infection prevention control (IPC) training and health promotion to the civil society organizations providing services for homeless and marginalized groups such as shelter, food and other essential goods distribution. We worked in four informal shelters for 800 migrants and marginalized Italian people, many with complex medical conditions, who were put in a severe lockdown without any support. An MSF team continues to run health promotion and IPC activities in many official migrant reception centers.  


What is happening in Italy?

The Italian government has introduced tougher asylum and migration policies, making access to health care even more difficult for people in need.

How we're helping in Italy


MSF projects in Italy

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Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to address gaps in medical services for the most vulnerable people and challenge these restrictive policies in Italy in 2019. Learn how you can best help in Italy and other countries.

From July to November, we ran a mobile clinic in Basilicata region in southern Italy to provide health care to migrants working as daily laborers in agriculture. Most of them live in crowded, unsanitary conditions in remote rural settlements, in makeshift camps or rural squats. In five months, MSF carried out more than 900 medical consultations and over 400 consultations for legal support via partners. At the end of the year, we identified a group of local doctors to take over these activities.  

In November, we closed the rehabilitation center for victims of torture that we opened in Rome in 2016. The project, run in collaboration with local partners Medici Contro la Tortura and ASGI, implemented a multidisciplinary approach. This comprised medical and psychological consultations, physiotherapy and social support for over 200 patients. Most of our patients were discharged in 2019, with the most critical (around 10) being referred to our partners or other organizations.  

Our teams continue to offer psychological first aid at disembarkation for people who have suffered traumatic events while crossing the Mediterranean. In 2019, MSF teams of psychologists and intercultural mediators assisted more than 38 people in two interventions in Lampedusa and Catania. Please donate to support our work in Italy and other countries around the world now.

Throughout the year, in Palermo, Rome and Turin, we helped around 1,060 people to access national health services, in partnership with local health authorities.