Padua, 4th November 2023 – Passion, hope and a lot of commitment are at the core of the intervention that Doctors with Africa CUAMM carries out every day since 1950. Today, CUAMM has given account of that work talking to thousands of people gathered in Milan about either the results of Mothers and children first programme and its support to the education of local health workers.
It was Massimiliano Baggio, Director of Conservatorio Verdi in Milan to open the meeting: «On behalf of the Conservatorio I am pleased to host you all here. We have been “on the move” with CUAMM for several years, we have organized concerts and events to support CUAMM’s commitment in Africa and today, by hosting the Annual Meeting, we renew our solidarity to the mission».
Mons. Mario Delpini, Bishop of Milan: «I am here, on behalf of the city of Milan, to show my support. Many are the doctors, volunteers and people from Milan who went out to the world. This is a tradition for the city that is not only appealing but also magnanimous and willing to help the others. As well as thanking, I wish to reflect on something: Africa is complex and it is wrecked, we struggle to see a path towards development and democracy. It is a continent rich in resources yet exploited, over and over. I believe that preposition “with” that CUAMM embedded in its name, is key to understand how Africa changes them and how much they actually learn from it».
The words pronounced by Hon. Antonio Tajani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation were heard through the video message sent on occasion of the Annual Meeting in which the Minister said: «Dear CUAMM friends, I am pleased to contribute in your Annual Meeting. The world is currently facing hard times, also worsened by the dramatic crisis ongoing in the Middle East without forgetting to mention the conflict in Ukraine which continues and for which we seek a fair peace. Following the same spirit, we have approved yesterday at the Council of Ministers the Mattei Plan. The Plan will help us work towards both the stability of the African continent and the shaping of a more ambitious European Marshall Plan. We want to promote a great European initiative with the twofold objectives of creating job opportunities and offering a chance to the many young African. We also wish to increase the scholarships and contribute in building a strong African leadership which is accountable and responsible, by doing so we want to address the issue of the development as we also want to stop the human trafficking in the Mediterranean».
Paolo Gentiloni, European Commissioner for Economy: «Europe should be inspired by that simple preposition “WITH” that is embedded in the CUAMM name. Europe is on the forefront of humanitarian aid and a milestone in the international cooperation system, by putting together European Union and the member states, it is without any doubt the one that helps Africa the most. Yet, we need a transformation: Europe has adopted a horizontal approach so far, we now need to skip to a vertical one, an approach that brings together Europe, the Mediterranean and the African continent. This is the future from either a demographic, climatic and economic perspective».
Romano Prodi, President of the Foundation for Worldwide Collaboration has brought the attention back to the severe crisis that we are currently facing at global level saying: «Either we seek a change at international level or we will not go over this, not over any crisis. We witness the numerous divisions within Africa but we cannot talk about hope without calling on the international community that unfortunately is not intervening now. The war in Ukraine is now a trench warfare, the one between Israel and Palestine is particular itself: we need to find a specific solution for the two states. We need to address the issue at international level to guarantee a long-standing solution, be the one of the two states or that of a unite one. We will not find a solution without any aid, hate is already rooted».
Pierre Somse, Minister of Health and Population, Central Africa Republic: «Central Africa Republic is among the poorest countries in the world, it has gone through decades of civil war that ended up wrecking the national health system. The maternal mortality rate is extremely high, the second worst at global level: 729 deaths per 10.000 live births; one of the worst neonatal mortality rate: 50 neonatal deaths per 1.000 live births. A terrible situation. Taking into account this picture, we can really appreciate the work both Cuamm and the Italian government are doing. With CUAMM support we have trained 20 paediatricians over the last 5 years, we only had two!».
Alberto Mantovani, Scientific Director at Humanitas: «I think of both the Italian and African youth who are on the ground. Teaching in Africa with CUAMM has been one of the most fruitful experiences of my academic career. I would like to stress four words: challenge, passion, intelligence and hope. Challenge means adapting to a different context and re-evaluate what is essential. Passion in Italian has two meanings. It means suffering but it also refers to the hunger that the youth have in learning which is extraordinary, it is driven by a rare enthusiasm. Then, intelligence and hope since I believe that passion and enthusiasm are the hope and that hope is what we take home when we return».
Every year, through data CUAMM gives account of “Mothers and children first” programme. Today, the latest have been discussed in Milan: 188.923 assisted deliveries over 2 years in 10 hospitals across 8 African countries; 8.102 manlourished children treated, 659 African health manager trained. 211 the young Italian residents who have lived a experience in one of the hospitals where CUAMM operates, over the last 2 years.
Mons. Claudio Cipolla, bishop of Padua and CUAMM President said: «I am beyond happy to see that an experience driven by the faith and by the humanity of many from Padua who are not only priests but also no religious humans, has gone big and is now capable of offering opportunities beyond its place of origin becoming a nationwide service. The claim “On the move” has a inner dimension, the one reflected in each of us that we shape through the steps we take. The first step is that of picturing a future, a goal as that of Gordon, the South Sudanese man who suceeded in his goal of serving his own community».
Card. Matteo Zuppi, President of the Bishop’s Conference of Italy: «To help is to live and to live is to help, they perfectly match. To do good to others, make us live well, by doing good to them we also are good. The self-love we feel for ourselves is something that way to often hurts us and undermine our conduct. In addition to this, what is also more important is to bring together emergency and development. Unfortunately, to often we only address the first forgetting to promote the second. We thank CUAMM for being committed to both. Pope Francis call on anybody to build peace and he does not give up on the logic of war. This is a research we all have to be engaged in, it is a mosaic constituted by many who pursue the solution to the war».
Giovanni Azzone, President of Cariplo: «We live in a deeply conntected world, all over us we witness emergencies that do have an impact on our territory. CUAMM’s experience prove us that by improving the quality of life in a wide territory, we foster the improvement of many other communities. As Cariplo Foundation, we decided to support CUAMM in its work in Africa because its mission is coherent with the objective to strengthen the communities as demonstrated by data showed».
Elio Franzini, Dean at Statale University: «We talk a lot about the youth and I believe that our residents are truly exceptional people who keep our national health system on its feet. The training of young people should never be one-way. We thank CUAMM and the opportunity it gives to our residents for showing us that the exchange is bidirectional because our youth do come back enriched by their stay in Africa».
Beppe Severgnini, Columnist at Corriere della Sera: «We need to tell people about the solidarity chain that exists to make them aware of this humanity who works hard for the peace, a humanity capable of looking in the eyes those who seem different. The power of a meeting like the one we are all gathered at today, is its authenticity, there is no retoric. To launch a good news is not sufficient, you have to tell the news in the right way, with passion, just as the youth who left with CUAMM are doing, To tell the brutality is unfortunately easier. To tell nice stories is more complicated but we have to keep in mind that out there there are people who want to read, look and listen to them».
Following the performance by Neri Marcorè who interpreted the well-known song “La guerra di Piero”, which appear to be sadly current, don Dante Carraro, CUAMM Director, thanked all the people in the hall as well as those on the ground starting by the 8 Country Managers who attended the meeting seated in the hall: «We also feel the duty to honour and pray the casualties of every war, we carry in our heart the concern for the consequences that such wars are having on the African continent. We watch over them through our commitment, courage and dedication. We do not mind being rose or tulips. We mind being there. We will be just tulips watching over and we will do what we can because we do want to sow hope in Africa: we believe that bringing together Italia and Africa is possible».