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Why are we There?

  • Refugees

Our Work


  • An unprecedented number of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers landed on Italian shores in 2014, many of them fleeing wars in their home countries.
  • Arriving via the Mediterranean remains the main option for many trying to reach Europe and claim international protection.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières teams saw an increase in the number of vulnerable people disembarking in Italy, including victims of violence and torture, those with disabilities, children and pregnant women.
  • Collaborating with the health ministry, teams conducted health screenings in Pozzallo, Sicily, and provided psychological care to people living in reception centres in Ragusa province. Many patients presented with scabies, respiratory tract infections, suspected tuberculosis and psychological suffering.
  • A temporary tented clinic was also set up in the port of Augusta to offer medical care to new arrivals and make urgent referrals to hospital. The Augusta project was handed over to the health ministry and the Italian Red Cross in December, once the number of new arrivals had decreased.
  • Between March and September, a Médecins Sans Frontières team managed a 23-bed inpatient service in Milan to provide medical care to homeless people discharged from hospital.
  • Many patients suffered from chronic diseases or illnesses resulting from the harsh living conditions, such as respiratory tract infections.
  • The project was handed over to the health ministry in September. The Médecins Sans Frontières Chagas disease project, which included education and screening, ended in June. 


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Médecins Sans Frontières first provided medical assistance in the county in 1999 and at the end of 2014, Médecins Sans Frontières had 22 field staff in Italy.