EMERGENCY is working around the world to fight this global pandemic.
COVID-19: Here is what we are doing.
EMERGENCY has given the authorities all the help it can to manage the coronavirus outbreak.
We have put our expertise in treating patients in the midst of epidemics, honed in Sierra Leone in the Ebola outbreak of 2014 and 2015, at the disposal of the health authorities.
Our projects around the world
In all our projects around the world, we have activated specific protocols to prepare for the arrival of the virus, even in countries not affected by the pandemic so far. Through specific staff training, the formation of triage areas, and the compartmentalisation of spaces and patient flows, we will be able to intercept suspected cases, report them to the health authority responsible, and minimise the risk of infection within our facilities.
Documents and Protocols
To help hospitals and reception shelters to managing the epidemic, we provide our protocols on how to manage the COVID-19 epidemic.
Our projects in Italy
In Calabria: our collaboration with the local Civil Protection
On Saturday 5 December our medical staff entered the Covid-2 ward of the San Giovanni di Dio Hospital in the city of Crotone.
EMERGENCY manages a department of 23 beds in the hospital structure plus, when necessary, other 8 beds in the ward in the field hospital.
We might help with other projects to manage Covid-19 patients. These are yet to be determined but they will certainly be done with the collaboration of the Civil Protection Department and the regional health authorities, both within the hospital and around the local area.
EMERGENCY carries on the activities in Polistena. We run a clinic in a building confiscated from the ’Ndrangheta. Here we look after the most vulnerable people in the area who cannot get treatment elsewhere. EMERGENCY will start doing swab tests in Polistena this week at the mayor’s request.
In Polistena we are also active with a rapid swab service for the most vulnerable people in the area and those most at risk from the virus.
In Milan, Rome, Piacenza, and Naples: ‘Nobody Left Behind’
The medical crisis that’s enveloped Italy over the last few months is beginning to leave another crisis in its wake. A new poverty is becoming a daily reality for many people. Large families, old people living alone, poor young people and workers in the industries hardest hit by the crisis have found themselves struggling to feed themselves and their children day to day.
It was to help those people that we launched ‘Nobody Left Behind: Supporting those in need through unprecedented times’. The project will deliver free packages of food and basic goods to people who need help at this difficult time and have nowhere else to go.
Our support for migrants and homeless people
It involves monitoring in shelters for homeless people and unaccompanied migrant children within the SIPROIMI (formerly SPRAR) system, including intermediary shelters and certain gypsy camps pointed out to us by Milan’s municipal government.
The project is run by a range of EMERGENCY teams, made up of specialist medical and logistics staff. The teams do sites evaluations in order to:
- Assess how they have been reorganised to meet the measures recommended by the Ministry of Health to contain the virus.
- Suggest solutions to the management and the Municipality, in case critical aspects are noted, and provide guidance in the implementation when necessary.
- Train workers on proper management of spaces, on cleaning and sanitation of places, on hygiene rules, on active observation of guests to spot symptoms, to check their temperature and to provide for isolation if necessary.
As of today, we are operative in 50 facilities detected by the Municipality of Milan.
In Camerino, we launched a psychological support initiative for health workers, former coronavirus patients and families of people still suffering from the disease.
All services respect fully the current legislation on social distancing, and personal protection is worn throughout by both staff and users. There is also a triage procedure to contain the virus, as at all our facilities in Italy and elsewhere, with a view to public health.
“Milano Aiuta” – “Domiciliarità” project
EMERGENCY answered the municipal government of Milan’s call for support services for the city’s people, offering its full help to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Using the government’s platform Milano Aiuta (Milan Helps), EMERGENCY is running a service delivering goods – food, medicine and other basic items – to people over 65, who have been ordered to quarantine themselves, and vulnerable people who cannot risk leaving their homes.
The project – which ended at the end of May – involved 320 volunteers, 60 tons of food and basic goods handled, 6,370 deliveries, with an average of over 100 deliveries per day and over 3,000 families helped.
We continue in Piacenza and Catania
In the cities of Piacenza and Catania, our volunteers collaborate with other local organisations to offer delivery services of food, medicines and basic items to people over 65, who have been ordered to quarantine themselves, and vulnerable people who cannot risk leaving their homes.
In Piacenza, the “Pronto Spesa” (Shopping Ready) service is active from 9:00 am to 12 pm from Monday to Saturday, by calling the telephone number 0523492737.
In Catania, the “Catania Aiuta” service can be reached by calling 095 8207675 and 095 7189822, via SMS or WhatsApp at 377 3404980, and on www.cataniasolidale.it.
In Bergamo, an EMERGENCY team made up of 80 medical and logistical staff worked at the Intensive Care Unit at the Field Hospital in Bergamo, operated by the Papa Giovanni XXIII hospital.
EMERGENCY helped to construct the facility alongside approximately 300 volunteers, including artisans from the city (carpenters, electricians, plasterers, plumbers and painters), 150 volunteers from Sanità Alpina, and 40 from the logistics department of the Ana Civil Protection.
On 26 May, medical work at the Field Hospital drew to a close. The facility was turned into a clinic for follow-up checks on patients with the virus who need monitoring.
We have proposed an effective reorganization of spaces and flows, to reduce the risks of contagion as much as possible. Every detail of the structure is essential to contain it: it is essential that each area is compartmentalized, that the dressing /undressing places are well defined, that the rules regarding movement of people are planned in advance. We are deploying our experiences learned in Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic. To do this, we called back some of our colleagues who worked abroad: we are trying to do our part in such a delicate moment for Italy.
Rossella Miccio, President of EMERGENCY
We worked with the Health Department at Brescia hospital to protect healthcare personnel and the hospital from contagion.
By offering the experience we gained in Sierra Leone during the Ebola epidemic, our team of medical and logistic staff set up a plan to reduce COVID-19 risks as much as possible.
In our other projects in Italy
We go on working at our clinics in Italy, using a triage method to identify patients with symptoms that could point to the virus. We will also continue providing information, consultations and direct them to the services they need, all for the good of public health.
A lot of the patients we already help in Italy are among the most vulnerable people in society – like migrants, homeless people and travellers – and they are struggling even more now to get services.
Information and prevention among minority groups
Our cultural mediators have recorded short videos in different languages, so that even at distance everyone can be updated on what action must be taken to prevent further outbreak. Even a tutorial that circulates via WhatsApp can encourage virtuous and responsible behaviour!
What we can all do
Every one of us can help right now to halt the spread of the virus, by following the medical authorities’ instructions to the letter. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly, keep a sensible distance from other people and avoid going out and having contact with them unless absolutely necessary.
You can find all the instructions and information you need at the Italian Ministry of Health’s website: www.salute.gov.it/nuovocoronavirus. Please do also pay attention to advice published by the WHO and local health authorities.
Everyone must play their part if we are to protect society as a whole.
We want to tell you more about how EMERGENCY has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic.
EMERGENCY’s COVID-19 response activities have also been made possible thanks to Caritatis Stiftung (Liechtenstein).