Calabria: rapid testing for the most vulnerable

foto @Medu

Rome (NEV), 2nd November 2020 – Doctors for Human Rights (MEDU) together with Mediterranean Hope, refugee and migrant programme of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI), will in the next few days be launching an extraordinary medical project in Piana di Gioia Tauro to combat Covid 19.  The project will be carried out with the support of the Rosarno local authority.

The MEDU mobile clinic will be implement screening with rapid testing for all citizens, particularly the most vulnerable.

The MEDU mobile clinic has been operative in Piana di Gioia Tauro for six years already.  It provides health and social assistance to migrant workers during the citrus harvest and, with the outbreak of the pandemic, has since March rolled out initiatives aimed at protecting this sector of the population which is particularly exposed to the risk of contagion.

Given the escalation of the pandemic in Calabria and, in particular, in Piana di Gioia Tauro, MEDU and Mediterranean Hope picked up the call for help from Rosarno’s mayor, extending the screening project to the many people generally unable to access this type of service.

“We are extremely concerned,” stated Giuseppe Idà, mayor of Rosarno, “because our local authority has the highest number of infections in the Piana di Gioia Tauro region.  We need support, given the scant investment by the Azienda Sanitaria Provinciale (Provincial Health Agency), lack of staff and funds.

For Alberto Barbieri, general coordinator for MEDU, “This project is particularly important for our association because all Calabrian citizens are in a difficult situation and the regional health service runs the risk of being overwhelmed by the second wave of the pandemic.  In launching this project in Calabria, where we have worked for years, we are merely doing our duty as a humanitarian medical organisation.  We are beginning with an initial stock of tests and, according to necessity, we will mobilise to seek more funding and make further tests available.  Our intention is to work in strict coordination with colleagues from USCA (the Special Unit for Continuity of Care) and the provincial health service in order to provide every possible support at this time.”  

“With this new project, Mediterranean Hope is strengthening its activity in a region which hosts a significant number of migrants – all too often without papers – forced to work in the most difficult conditions, now made worse by the health emergency,” stated Paolo Naso, coordinator of Mediterranean Hope, refugee and migrant programme of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy (FCEI).  “In a region where organised crime has successfully infiltrated politics, we are seeking to build a project which brings together the local authority and parts of civil society in an initiative from which both migrants and residents of Piana di Gioia Tauro will benefit.  We are starting with an investment of around €10.000 with which we hope to provide around 1,000 tests.  It is just one segment of a wider social project,” concludes Naso, “whose objective is tackling the shanty towns and tent cities which risk becoming real hotbeds of infection”.