The World Health Organization ended the global emergency status for COVID-19 on Friday 5th of May more than three years after the pandemic was announced.
Since then, we have been working hard to counter the spread of the virus by prioritizing the safety of the 23 supported hospitals, health workers and communities in the 8 countries where we work, while difficult access to vaccines made clear the fragility of an inequitable system and the urgent need to not leave the most fragile behind. We did not and we succeeded in reaching the last mile. Through the establishment of a Vaccine Task Force, we analyzed precisely the epidemiological situation in each country of intervention and were able to structure a tailored response, in line with both the health goals of local governments and their pandemic response strategies.
We then launched widespread vaccination campaigns in each country of intervention where not only did we provide logistical support with vehicles and fuel, but also we engaged in the provision of sanitary materials for vaccine administration, storage, and protection of medical and health personnel. Involving local radio stations, civil society associations and religious communities, we carried out awareness-raising and education activities on good hygiene practices while also informing on the role of the vaccine in countering the spread of the pandemic. Through training meetings we supported medical and health personnel involved in vaccination but also all community agents, village leaders and religious representatives involved in the campaign. By doing so, we were able to get to hardest-to-reach areas, the last mile like Pujheun in Sierra Leone or Karamoja in northern Uganda. And also Ethiopia, Angola, Mozambique, Tanzania and Central African Republic where working endlessly we managed to administer more than a million doses. An extraordinary result, achieved without ever forgetting the difficult situation our country was experiencing.
With “Italian Response to COVID-19,” thanks to USAID support, we opened the vaccination center in Rubano (PD), which administered a total of 48.000 vaccinations with the help of 190 volunteers. 19 health facilities in 6 regions of Italy were supported during the pandemic when universities, professional associations and volunteer groups throughout Italy got involved to respond to the health emergency that was plaguing our country.
An effort made by many, together, which we also recalled on Saturday, in Milan, on the occasion of the Civil Week. A gathering that gave us the opportunity to present Fit4Care, the program dedicated to health workers engaged on the frontline of the health emergency. It was the health workers who made the greatest effort in this difficult time, and to them goes our gratitude for having carried us out of the Covid-19 crisis, with a special thought for the many who did not make it.