INTERSOS starts an extraordinary intervention of primary and early prevention in Italy and abroad of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In such a difficult moment, we asked ourselves how to be actively close to our fellow citizens – declares Kostas Moschochoritis, Secretary General of INTERSOS – It is our duty and we are already active with projects of prevention of the pandemic and support to the access to healthcare services in areas of extreme social exclusion. INTERSOS medical mobile units are active in Italy, particularly Rome and Foggia, carrying on activities to prevent the pandemic from spreading further. We have also started prevention and information activities in northern Iraq, another country affected by the epidemic “.
In Rome, our medical mobile units, with doctors and cultural mediators on board, are active with information and prevention activities in contexts of social exclusion, in the area of Termini and Tiburtina train stations, in informal settlements and squats.
“People are very receptive to our messages – explains Alessandro Verona, medical referent of the INTERSOS Migration Unit – Unfortunately it is very difficult for them to carefully follow all the measures in such precarious housing conditions. It is essential that public institutions implement immediate measures to prevent the pandemic from spreading among vulnerable people“.
In Puglia, we are active in the rural areas of the province of Foggia. Starting from the end of February, COVID-19 risk prevention operations began in the 8 informal settlements where INTERSOS has been operating for two years with medical services: former airport of Borgo Mezzanone, “Gran Ghetto” of Torretta Antonacci, Borgo Tre Titoli, Palmori countryside, Poggio Imperiale countryside, former Daunialat factory in Foggia, S. Matteo district, Borgo Cicerone.
“These people need to be protected with particular care – underlines Doctor Verona – It is crucial for the hygienic – sanitary deficiencies they face, for the precarious housing situations in which they live, for the dramatic working conditions, for the chronic difficulties to access the national health system. Our intervention aims at communicating correct behavior and providing indispensable medical protection, guaranteeing everyone’s safety“.
INTERSOS is working in coordination with the Puglia Region and the Foggia Local Health Authority, to which it has asked to urgently increase access to water and sanitation for all settlements, even the smallest ones. Access to water and sanitation is essential for making effective the prevention campaign.