MSF workers assisting a migrant disembarking from a boat in Palermo, Italy | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/UFFICIO STAMPA MSF
MSF workers assisting a migrant disembarking from a boat in Palermo, Italy | Photo: ARCHIVE/ANSA/UFFICIO STAMPA MSF

Thanks to collaboration between Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the Italian healthcare authorities, a clinic has opened in the Sicilian regional capital of Palermo specializing in the rehabilitation of migrants and refugees that have suffered torture and/or acts of violence.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the provincial healthcare authority (ASP) in the Sicilian city of Palermo have opened a clinic specializing in the rehabilitation of migrants and refugees that have suffered torture and/or acts of violence.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday, the new service is free of charge. It is open to men, women, and children, including unaccompanied minors, that have suffered torture or inhumane and degrading treatment in their home countries or in their nations of destination and who are suffering repercussions on their psychological and physical health.

Interdisciplinary team

MSF underscored that the aim of the rehabilitation offered by the clinic is to improve the psycho-physical state of patients through treatment by an interdisciplinary team dealing with psychological, medical, social, and legal problems, in line with the needs of the individual.

The services offered -- with the support of cultural mediators -- range from psychotherapy to general and forensic medicine, from physical therapy to social and legal assistance.

"Torture, experienced by many in Libyan detention centers, leaves indelible signs. Lacking specialist assistance, the results of traumas and violence may severely affect these people's health," MSF psychotherapist Ester Russo, who works at the Palermo center, said.

"Torture is not a disease. Those that have suffered it must have the possibility to regain their own identity. We help these people to treat their physical and psychological injuries and regain hope in the future and trust in others."

Torture widespread among refugees

MSF noted that torture and violence are experiences shared by many asylum seekers and refugees arriving in Italy. Some of the patients of the new clinic have been identified in special migrant reception centers in the Palermo province in which MSF has carried out COVID-19 prevention and checks while others living outside the reception system will be referred by associations and organizations working in the area.

Palermo local health authority director Daniela Faraoni stressed that the ASP attempts to help all those suffering, noting: "the victims of intentional violence and torture will be accompanied on a path for reception, support, and treatment to enable them to take back their lives and move forward with a new spirit towards the future."

A request to be helped by the clinic can be made by the people themselves via telephone/email, going directly to the clinic, or by being referred by third parties.

The clinic is at the immigrant health promotion unit on Via Lancia di Brolo 10 bis and is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9.30 AM to 1 PM and Tuesday and Thursday from 3 PM to 6 PM.

To contact the clinic: progettosiv@asppalermo.org, 0917035497 or 3458025855.

 

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