Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea

by Fondazione Francesca Rava Nph Italia Onlus Vetted since 2015 Site Visit Verified
Maita, gynecologist (center)
Maita, gynecologist (center)

On June 20th, World Refugee Day, we joined the pain and hope of so many families forced to leave their country, renewing our commitment to the service of the institutions.

The volunteers of the Francesca Rava Foundation - NPH Italia Onlus doctors, midwives and nurses,  for almost 5 years have assisted thousands of children and women on Italian Navy ships. Our work for women and children also continues on the mainland with specialist medical support, donation of medicines to family homes, reception centers for prefectures and communities for minors, in outpatient centers in Lombardy and Genoa.

Our medical volunteers are commited not only for the missions in the front line, they also contribute a great deal to the educational activity of the Foundation in schools and with the partecipation in congresses and public debates, raising awareness on migrant mothers and children.

One of our most active volunteers is MD Maita, gynecologist from Torino. She has been invited to talk to the students of several schools across Italy and to many public debates. She wrote and staged a live performance titled "Sands", a true story of images, sounds, words, emotions lived in the days and nights spent side by side with women and children rescued from the waters of the Mediterranean Sea

Maita, together with her colleague Pietro and midwives Viola and Manuela, won the poster presentation competition "MIGRANT WOMEN: which pathways in pregnancy?" at the AOGOI AGITE Congress in Catania.  Their poster, entitled "Donne d'aMARE", illustrated the "path" of pregnant migrants from a boat at the mercy of the sea in the Sicily Channel, to a Navy Ship to a port in Southern Italy. They described the "path" from the medical triage on the flight bridge, the assistance to difficult pregnancies and the delivery room set up in the obstetric area set up in a helicopter hangar, they talked about support for mothers who lost their child at sea and those who welcomed a new baby, and described the assistance to obstetric emergencies at sea.  

We are grateful to Maita, and the almost 200 medical doctors, midwives, nurses, that so far devoted the best of their skills, energy and their time to our project of emergency support, out at sea and on the Italian territory. We need them, and we need our donors to keep supporting our cause.

"Sands", live performance
"Sands", live performance
Maita with students
Maita with students
Maita during one of her missions
Maita during one of her missions

Links:

Within the project that helps mothers and children in the Mediterranean, the Rava Foundation has started a new action to support migrant women after their crossing the sea and their landing on Italian shores.

We work closely with agencies that host the migrants in various regions of the country, especially those dealing with women and minors. Over time, our collaboration with some of the agencies has grown to envisioning the need for new forms of support and action.

We have collaborated with the CARA Center, a prefectural center for asylum seekers in Milan since last year. The center is home to about 400 migrants, of which eighty women (mainly Nigerians, Somalis and some Syrians). Thanks to the idea of a voluntary association (No walls) operating inside the center, last spring we supported the creation of a gynecological clinic to provide assistance to women in the center, some of them pregnant. They have been offered a service of basic gynecological examinations, fortnightly, thanks to the presence of two gynecologists sent by the Foundation

The project of gynecological assistance on site responds to two main needs: follow prengant women in the months leading to the child's birth and inform young women.

The activity has now grown to a regual service with the support of a midwife. The ambulatory work is organized and led by our expert midwife Maria Vittoria. Her broad experience with migrant women has shown to be a plus to work with young women, mainly coming from The Horn of Africa and Nigeria, thus with different cultural backgrounds and different life projects and plans.

Our commitment to mothers and children in need does not stop. Than you for standing by us.

The calendar being presented in Genova
The calendar being presented in Genova

We have had teams embarked all through the winter on board the Vigilanza Pesca units of the Italian Navy. During the last months the area of patrollement has been shifted to the West.

Our background work in our headquarters is currently focused on interviewing new candidates, midwives, emergency nurses, medical doctors that will serve in this project in the months to come, when the situation at sea is expected to become more challenging.

So far we count more than 200 specialized volunteers being involved in this project over more than 4 years. From October 2013 until October 2017, 92 doctors (among them 25 anesthesiologists, 33 emergy room physiscians, 18 gynecologysts, 25 pediatricians, 3 infectivologists), 60 specialized nurses, 68 midwives took leave from their jobs and devoted their time to ensure lifesaving treatment and assistance to more than 100,000 people, a great number of them being women and children. In 4 years, we counted almost 4,000 man days.

To mark the importance of Fondazione Francesca Rava's contribution to safety at sea through a longtime cooperation with the institutions, the Italian Navy dedicated their 2018 historical calendar to the Foundation.

We feel honored, and strengthened in our will and in our efforts to keep helping.

Stay by our side.

Calendars were sold to fundraise for the project
Calendars were sold to fundraise for the project
Pediatrician Maria Luisa
Pediatrician Maria Luisa

The political and strategic situation in the Mediterranean has changed in the last few months on an international level.

The teams of the Foundation are still present on board of the Italian Navy units in the Mediterranean to assure that in case of need emergency specialzed professionals are available.

The training activity of our voulnteers is now centered on BLS pediatric courses and obstetrcis emergencies at sea, both on board and in the naval bases. An important workshop in collaboration with the Petty Officers' School of the Italian Navy and the University of Bari was organized in Taranto to train 50 nursery students (both civil and military).

At the same time, the Foundation launched, for the fifth year in a row, In Farmacia per i Bambini (In the pharmacy for the children) a national initiative to collect pediatric products (baby food, diapers, medicines..) that are donated among others to initial reception centers, foster homes, the Milan Central Station hospitality hub. The initiative involved over 1400 pharmacies, 2000 voluteers for the benefit of 300 agencies that sustain mothers and children in need.

BLSD pediatric. Marialuisa&Emma
BLSD pediatric. Marialuisa&Emma
Gynecologist Maita training nursery students
Gynecologist Maita training nursery students
20 November 2017
20 November 2017
Baby products on their way
Baby products on their way

Links:

Conference on board Patroller Sirio
Conference on board Patroller Sirio

In July and August the number of SAR operations has dropped significantly.

The presence of the Foundation's medical teams on board of the units of the Italian Navy has been constant, to assure assistance in any case and at any time. As a matter of fact, during a dramatic event our gynecologist Pietro brought asssitance to a woman who delivered her baby shortly before being saved from the waters. Full coverage of the event can be read in the attached article published by the weekly magazine Grazia (in Italian). The vice director followed one of our teams on board of nave Foscari in July, and described the comitment of the Italy Navy to sea safety and the support of Fondazione Rava for 4 years in a row.

A collateral activity of the Foundation's obs and pediatric specialists on board is medical training, which is provided regularly to the crews during the navigations. Our gynecologist Maita recently took part in a one month mission (the 4th in 3 years) in team with Alessandrio (highly specialized first aid nurse) and Viola (young midwife). They gave lectures on emergency in obs at sea and BLS.

As we follow the unfolding of the international scenario, the Fondazione is continuing its support to the Italian Navy, within the frame of the maritime operations officaily decided and ruled by the Italian and European governernments. Our volunteers are conscious that their presence at sea is a garantee that under any circumstance, not one mother or one child will be left behind.

Alessandr, Maita and Viola, team 117
Alessandr, Maita and Viola, team 117

Attachments:
 

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Organization Information

Fondazione Francesca Rava Nph Italia Onlus

Location: Milano, Italy - Italy
Website: http:/​/​www.nph-italia.org
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Fondazione_Rava
Project Leader:
Fondazione Francesca Rava Nph Italia Onlus
Milano, Italy

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