A doctor from the Order of Malta helps a young migrant | ANSA/ORDER OF MALTA PRESS OFFICE
A doctor from the Order of Malta helps a young migrant | ANSA/ORDER OF MALTA PRESS OFFICE

The Italian federation of medical guilds has presented a free online training course for Italian doctors to help them treat patients who have suffered physical or psychological trauma from their migratory journeys.

The Italian federation of medical guilds, FNOMCEO, is providing an online course for Italian doctors to help them treat migrant patients who suffered physical or psychological trauma during their migratory journey. Although treating any patient requires professionalism and humanity, according to FNOMCEO President Filippo Anelli, treating a patient who crossed the desert and was held prisoner and tortured in a Libyan detention centre prior to being loaded on a rubber dinghy that miraculously crossed the Mediterranean to reach Europe requires an entirely different type of preparation.

"The doctor needs to be prepared; he or she needs to know where the patient comes from, the cultural situation, any trauma that has taken place, and differences in general," Anelli said. The training course titled "Health and Migration: Treatment and Care," created in collaboration with the non-profit International Health Observatory (OIS), is part of the Sanità di Frontiera (Border Health) programme and is available to all Italian doctors for free at the website www.fadinmed.it.

Anelli said migrant reception is not an ideological fact but rather a "deontological issue, as well as a question of public health," adding that "our code requires us to care for everyone. Promoting a culture of welcoming through training, above all in the difficult phase of treatment for those arriving on our shores, allows us to improve our healthcare system for everyone." It would also ensure everyone's right to health, he added, which "isn't a right based on citizenship but rather a right of humanity, due by virtue of being a person."

Helping doctors face migratory phenomenon 

According to OIS president Francesco Aureli, the project was inspired by the "socio-cultural change taking place in Europe due to the migratory phenomenon." He also said that health and well-being of migrants must "necessarily go hand-in-hand" with that of the host community. "The course is a chance to support doctors in this effort through education," he explained. OIS data show that there are 250 million migrants worldwide. Of these, 65 million are refugees, or people who have fled their home countries due to persecution, conflicts, and violence, and need international protection.

5.5 million foreigners are residing legally in Italy, 2.5 million of whom are employed while 600,000 are awaiting a decision on refugee protection. The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said 9,826 migrants have arrived in Europe between January 1 and March 10 this year, nearly half of whom suffered exploitation and abuse.

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