Ventimiglia
MSF teams in Italy are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and are working with migrants and people on the move.

Our current COVID-19 activities include working with marginalised people – migrants and Italian nationals included – to strengthen health and hygiene surveillance in squats and informal settlements in Rome. We also undertake health promotion and infection prevention and control measures in migrant reception centres in Sicily.

Elsewhere, we monitor the condition of migrants in transit along Italy's borders with France, Switzerland, and Slovenia; working with local organisations, we provide medical care, food and other essential items.

In July 2021, we started working once again in Lampedusa, Sicily, where three MSF teams provide medical and mental health care to survivors of shipwrecks and to people on the move who have recently arrived on the island by boat.

Our activities in 2020 in Italy

Data and information from the International Activity Report 2020. 

MSF in Italy in 2020 When the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic shifted to Europe, MSF supported the response in Italy. We also continued to provide medical and psychological assistance to migrants.
Map of MSF activities in 2020 in Italy

Italy was the first European country to be hard hit by COVID-19. In early March, at the request of the health ministry, we started working in hospitals in Lombardy, the region with the highest number of cases, sharing our epidemic expertise in infection prevention and control, and patient care. We extended our activities to other regions, focusing on vulnerable groups. Our teams worked in care homes, prisons, migrant centres, shelters for the homeless, informal settlements and squats, supporting civil society groups providing assistance, and running multilingual health promotion and online mental health activities.  

Although our emergency response ended in July, we continued to carry out COVID-19 activities. On the outskirts of Rome, we supported the early detection and management of cases, while in Palermo, we responded to outbreaks in shelters for the homeless and migrant centres.  

In the summer, our team in Lampedusa, Sicily, responded to a sharp increase in the number of migrants arriving from Libya and Tunisia. For two months, we supported and trained national health service medical teams in triage at disembarkation and offered psychological first aid to people traumatised by experiences during their journey.  

Throughout the year, our teams continued to monitor the situation of migrants in transit at Italy’s northern borders. We denounced the dire living conditions, and the harsh treatment to which they were exposed, including physical abuse and pushbacks across the borders. We also worked with civil society groups to distribute relief items such as blankets and winter clothes.  

 

In 2020
 
MSF psychologist Gaia Quaranta
Mediterranean migration

“We heal the invisible wounds”

Voices from the Field 16 Sep 2015
 
Provide Safe Passage
Mediterranean migration

EU: your fences kill. Provide safe and legal passage

Open Letter 11 Sep 2015
 
Mediterranean migration

Proactive search and rescue operations essential life-saver

Project Update 20 Aug 2015
 
Italy

Migration: Bourbon Argos not authorised to land 700 rescued migrants in Sicily

Press Release 17 Jul 2015
 
Italy

“I had no idea how bad it would be. The journey to Europe was worse than what I left behind in Somalia.”

Voices from the Field 2 Jul 2015
 
Mediterranean migration

From Eritrea to Mediterranean: "A Lot of Trouble"

Project Update 2 Jul 2015