MSF ends two-month support mission on Lampedusa

Assisted 5,795 people, 80% of migrant boats from Tunisia

16 October, 17:46

    PALERMO - A Doctors Without Borders (MSF) mission on the island of Lampedusa that began on August 15 to flank the local healthcare authorities during medical screenings of migrants disembarked from boats in line with anti-COVID measures has ended.

    The MSF team, which included doctors, nurses, and cultural mediators, and provided support to the Palermo local health authority in managing emergency cases and in identifying patients with possible COVID-19 symptoms or particular vulnerabilities to report to hotspot doctors as the most urgent cases to be monitored.

    ''Thanks to the fundamental role played by cultural mediators in triage, we were able to identify chronic diseases, people that are undergoing treatment or need treatment and in general any type of medical vulnerability including traumas and pregnancies that we have handed over to the healthcare authorities in charge,'' MSF project coordinator in Sicily Elisa Galli said.

    ''We believe that this system of identification and reporting of vulnerable cases must be maintained to ensure the continuity of assistance and so that there is no confusion resulting from excessive rotations of healthcare personnel assigned to the disembarking or due to an absence of cultural mediators during the triage, factors that fail to ensure the continuity of the good practices established,'' she added.

    In its two months of activities on the island, MSF assisted 5,795 people who had arrive on 226 boat landings. Some 80% of the boats that reached Lampedusa had departed from Tunisia but 43% of the overall number of people came from Libya, often onboard decrepit vessels. The busiest day was on September 20, when 732 people arrived on 26 boats.

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