From file: The port of Lampedusa during a transfer of migrants | Photo: Elio Desiderio / Archive / ANSA
From file: The port of Lampedusa during a transfer of migrants | Photo: Elio Desiderio / Archive / ANSA

A 38-year-old woman from the Ivory Coast gave birth to a baby girl after landing on the island of Lampedusa. The 38-year-old, Rita, who named her daughter Maria, was taken straight to the island's health center upon arrival, given the advanced state of her pregnancy.

A baby girl, Maria, was born at the Poliambulatorio health center in Lampedusa on July 31, shortly after her mother reached the Italian island at the end of July. Both the 38-year-old mother, Rita, and her baby girl are doing well, health officials said.

The baby was born weighing 2.5 kilos.The mother was taken to the health center on the island right after landing due to the advanced stage of her pregnancy. Medics feared a premature birth and requested the intervention of a helicopter to take the woman to a hospital in Palermo.

But shortly afterwards, Rita went into labor and her baby was born at 11:40 PM on Saturday. She was named Maria in honor of Maria Raimondo, the nurse from Corleone who assisted Rita during labor.

'A life force burst forth from a nightmare'

The medical team that helped deliver the baby included Michele Bellanca, a doctor at the PTE emergency center; Carmine Palmeri, coordinator of the ordinary emergency medical services of Lampedusa; nurses Maria Raimondo and Salvatore Settecase. An anesthesiologist, Achille Tortorici, was also present during the natural birth.

"The force of life has burst forth from a nightmarish scenario," said the director general of the provincial health authority (ASP) of Palermo, Daniela Faraoni, highlighting the "sacrifice and abnegation" of medical personnel.

"You need heart and awareness that this job is first of all a mission: it is not a career, it is not power, it is not easy money and it is not about careerism or gaining the limelight," she went on to say. "It is [about] anonymous presence, love, silent care of our neighbor. Welcome Maria and thank you Maria, the nurse from Corleone, and to all those who care for others."

A race for solidarity

Right after the birth, both the health center' personnel and Lampedusa residents donated blankets, clothes and all necessities for mother and baby.

During the night, Rita and her baby were moved by helicopter to the Ingrassia hospital in Palermo for regular post-birth checkups.


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