In these days, the US Ambassador to the Holy See, Joe Donnelly, is in Puglia to visit the suburbs of Foggia, as well as hold a series of institutional meetings with Cuamm. For many years, Doctors with Africa Cuamm Bari and Apulia Region have been committed to guarantee medical care and assistance to the refugee and migrant communities in the province of Foggia. From today, these communities will also benefit from a psychological support service thanks to the Julia Taft fund of the State Department of the American Embassy to the Holy See.

«Our Embassy is honored to support Cuamm’s critical work in the field of mental health, which connects this highly vulnerable migrant population with local mental health and gender-based violence response services» – said US Ambassador to the Holy See Joe Donnelly – «I am very pleased to be able to witness first-hand the impact of Cuamm’s work and to help expand the reach of its assistance».

5,000 people, mainly women and farm workers from migrant and refugee communities in the province of Foggia, will have access to a psychological support service offered on board of the mobile clinic of the Doctors with Africa Cuamm. The service, which will involve community field agents, cultural mediators and professionals from the national health system, will be added to those that Doctors with Africa Cuamm has been providing for years in the province of Foggia. Here migrant and refugee communities live in precarious sanitary conditions, without running water or electricity, far from personal services, and in conditions of extreme social marginalization.

Since 2015, thanks to an agreement signed with the Apulia Region, Doctors with Africa Cuamm has been operating in the populous area of Borgo Mezzanone (Fg), where a multidisciplinary team offers basic and specialist health services on board of a mobile clinic. These services include: screening and treatment of infectious diseases for HIV and HCV, basic medical and gynaecological consultations, but also cultural mediation services and education activities on health-related topics, with the aim to promote inclusion in the regional health system.

Since the start of its activities, the mobile clinic of Doctors with Africa Cuamm has provided about 4,000 visits to migrant communities settled in the countryside of Foggia, providing medical assistance and health services to more than 3,000 people.

«As Doctors with Africa Cuamm Bari we are very honored by the visit of the American ambassador to the Holy See» – said Dr. Renato La Forgia, president of the Bari Group – «It represents an important recognition of our eight years commitment to provide health support to migrants living in the Capitanata region. It is a sign of the international community’s interest in Cuamm and its work here, together with the University of Bari and the Puglia Region. We are part of that operational arm that fights against caporalato, the social injustice that, also in our region, forces workers to accept miserable wages and commit to long working hours, especially during the summer. This visit, which comes after the recognition received from the Oms last year (which highlighted the health assistance provided by Cuamm in informal settlements as best practice) motivates and reinforces the work carried out by our volunteers for the health of the most marginalized, here in Italy».

Established in 2000, by the Department of State, the Julia Taft Fund provides grants of up to $25,000 per year per project to respond to governments’ difficulties in dealing with migrant and refugee populations. Specifically, these funds are allocated to national or local non-governmental organisations (NGOs) engaged in initiatives dedicated to education, health, legal assistance and inclusion of vulnerable groups.

«Thanks to this valuable contribution and the partnership we have been pursuing for several years with the US government, we can give continuity to an intervention that represents a concrete sign for marginalized populations. Cuamm is committed to the most vulnerable in Italy as well as in Africa, in the last mile of health services, guaranteeing access to quality care especially for women and children» says Andrea Atzori, Head of International Relations, Doctors with Africa Cuamm.


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