Eighty coloured spots, yellow, blue, green, red, spread throughout the map of Italy from north to south. As a “Risiko of good deeds done” in a year. This is the map depicting IRC19 project “Italian Response to COVID-19” funded by the US government on behalf of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). From training session on Covid-19 and global health, to food distribution to people in informal settlements in Apulia and to homeless people in La Spezia, to health facilities and nursing homes equipment, up to awareness raising projects on Covid-19. The activities offered and accomplished were numerous. Behind every single one: people, stories and deep motivations. Hence, you can run into Cristina, a nurse working in a health facility in the Marche region who states “I realized Africa is not that far away and we are all together under the same sky”, or Rosalba from Liguria who volunteers cooking and distributing food to those in needs every Saturday, she told us “I never questioned myself why. I do it, that is all. When you get to know people’s problems, you think less about yours. I feel useful and this makes me feel good”.

In Apulia we work alongside Aaditya, a cultural mediator who claims: “I really like this job. Together with Cuamm and thanks to its dedication to help the most vulnerable and invisible ones, we are making the difference to these people in the framework of “Italian Response to Covid-19”. While Mario, a long time doctor with Cuamm reaffirms: “Since my return to Italy, I have always been suffering from Africa bug. I am now trying to give back what I received from Africa. Basically I guess Africa taught me to pay more attention to the relationship with the patient and the desease”.

Starting from the real needs identified locally, meeting the needs of the population seeking the best solutions, adapting goals and modifying interventions in order to achieve tangible results; always acting with flexibility and adaptability to ensure that, once the emergency is over, the style and the way of working remains so that the lessons learned begin to bear lasting fruits. This is the style that has been characterizing Cuamm for over 70 years, in its dedication to vulnerable people and their right to health and, since last year, also in Italy where Cuamm is implementing this extraordinary project that is expected to be completed in January 2022.
Results achieved in a year are numerous: 207.645 meals distributed to people in ghettos of Apulia and to homeless people in La Spezia, Liguria; 9.504 people sensitized on Covid-19 thanks to the commitment of 27 volunteering groups supporting Cuamm in 11 regions; 5.421 students of health professions and interns trained on global health and 691 health workers taking part in the target-tailored courses on physical and mental wellbeing “Justin Time” and “Fit4Care”; 1.507 basic medical examinations to vulnerable people; 19 health facilities among which hospitals and nursing homes equipped for the management of Covid-19 from Trentino to Marche, through Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna and 10 agreements signed with ten Italian regions to launch new collaborations on these themes and needs. Moreover: support to women in need to make use of services provided in Fivizzano, Tuscany; support to the immigrant community of Pinerolo (Piedmont) to enhance their knowledge of risks linked to Covid-19; one vaccination centre inaugurated in Rubano, in the province of Padua.

The way awaiting us in the coming months is long and demanding, we will go through Italy from Naples to Milan passing through Parma, Brescia and wherever in between driven by a deep need written in Cuamm’s DNA: “Doing good deeds in a difficult way” in Africa and, in times of pandemic, in Italy too.

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