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Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea

by Fondazione Francesca Rava Nph Italia Onlus Vetted since 2015 Site Visit Verified
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Save mothers and children in the Mediterranean Sea
Pediatrician Maria Luisa and baby Maria Luisa
Pediatrician Maria Luisa and baby Maria Luisa

Summer is approaching for the fourth time since our medical teams first started their activity aboard the warships of the Italian Navy. So far, 200 doctors, nurses and midwives have been selected, organized in teams and sent to join the crews of the Navy. Hundreds of people are rescued, triaged and assisted every time a Save and Rescue alarm gets aired. Last winter the SAR operations were less than usual, but with the good season we are typically registering a sudden increase in the activity. May is always a month of great challenge out at sea.

The month of May last year was signed by a tragedy in the Mediterranean. Our medical team aboard the Bettica patroller witnessed a wooden boat capsizing, and they were engaged in the rescue operations.

This last May again there was a shipwreck: the same day that the Navy men rescued about 500 people and her mother Hafsa, a 23-year-old Somali woman, 34 migrants perished off the Libyan coast. It was Wednesday, May 24th. On Friday at 7.30 am on the Libra warship of the Italian Navy, life took its small revenge and she was born, Maria Luisa, three kilos of hope. Our midwife Francesca and our pediatrician Maria Luisa assisted the mother and the baby in what seemed to be a regular and quick delivery, instead was followed by post partum complications for the mother. All ended well, thanks to the skills and experience of the personnel, and mother and child could be transferred by eli to a hospital in the mainland.

Every time a mother is saved, every time a baby is born or rescued alive from the waters, us at Fondazione Rava feel proud of our work, and immensely grateful to those who contribute to making our constant engagment possible.

Ahead of us are four months of emergency within the emergency. Hundreds of thousands of desperate people are hoarded someplace in Lybia and are being embarked  thousands at a time on rubber or wooden vessels. Our teams will be doubled or even tripled all summer long.

Keep supporting our commintment to mothers and children like Hafsa and Maria Luisa.

 

 

MIdwife Francesca and the newborn
MIdwife Francesca and the newborn
Transfer of mother and child by helicopter
Transfer of mother and child by helicopter
Medical and psycological team with project manager
Medical and psycological team with project manager

While entering the fourth year of continous presence of our medical teams in Mediterranean, Fondazione Rava, in collaboration with the Italian Navy, is now about to implement a new form of emergency support to the people rescued from the sea and suffering, for example, of Post Traumatick Shock Disease (PTSD) due to loss of dear ones during the journey, and who were victims of repeated death threatens and not occasional  physical and psycological violence.

The psycological work with migrants is dictated by the emergency, and the speed with which events are resolved (hardly ever migrants remain on board for more than 48 hours). For these reasons, the work of the psychologist focuses especially on a first psychological support, based  on observation, reporting and, where necessary on listening, primarily through reassurance and communication. Critical observation is especially aimed at children traveling alone, women victims of sexual violence, suspected cases of PTSD, and  evident signs of desperation. In this regard, our psycologist in equipe with specialists of the Italian Navy, will  thus create a standardized method of observation and targeted intervention.

Our medical teams will count on this extra psycological help to assure that every single person needing help will be assisted in the best possible way. The medical team and the crew will be asked to take part in meetings prior and following the SAR (save and rescue events) in order to be able to fully understand and deal with the most critical situations encountered during the activity.

We are determined to keep the highest level of attention and the quality of our work in this long term emergency. The movie Fuocoammare, by Italian director Gianfranco Rosi, winner of the Golden Bear in Berlin, recently won a nomination to the Oscars as best documentary. In the movie, representing the drama of the migrants crossing the ocean, the most unforgettable images are those of a wooden boat hiding tens of youngsters suffocated in the hold and the efforts of the crew of Cigala Fulgosi ship and Fondazione Rava's doctor to save them.

Assisting persons who lost family members
Assisting persons who lost family members
frame from Fuocoammare
frame from Fuocoammare
Giulia, the author of this letter, with Luca.
Giulia, the author of this letter, with Luca.

My name is Giulia, I am a midwife volunteering for Fondazione Rava, am writing this during my second experience aboard ship Borsini, engaged in the Safe Sea Operation.

The warmth with which I and my colleague Luca, nurse of intensive care unit, were greeted by the Navy crew was so touching, it seems to me never to have left.

Fondazione Rava and the Italian Navy have been three years together in the Mediterranean Sea saving lives and providing specialized medical assistance to mothers and children. 

I really want to emphasize the dedication of the Italian Navy (truly  "professionals of the oceans") for their work. It's a work of a shocking humanity. In three years of lasting emergency it's been 200 of us doctors nurses midwives of Fondazione Rava being part of this incredibile team. Day in day out.

 

During our navigation so far we have managed 112 people in all, due to bad weather conditions there has been few adventuring at sea; usually the count is much higher. One boat with several women, some children and a 12-day-old infant. Their health conditions were generally good.

I was able to observe and be part not of the management of the drama but rather the management of the routine. Emergency calls happen almost every day but for those of us who work on Italian Navy ships this is  daily work. The routine when it has to do with people is not actual routine: emotions are intense, pressure is high, it's a matter of death or life. Always. Night and day. 365 days a year. 

Then you see apprehension in the eyes of each other as we observe the overloaded raft from a distance, the delicacy with which a woman is helped to climb a rope ladder, the commotion of a military man in front of an infant a few days  old cuddled in the arms of his girl mother, you feel concern for the colleagues who are out there in the dark, in the waves, you tremble for those who are still inside that raft that may collapse any moment, you sense the indecision of those who must choose how much milk to prepare for that little boy sitting over there, you try to reassure a pregnant mother by giving her ultrasound checks and monitoring her all the time ... nothing eclatant, only the work of all the days in a row we have been here at sea to save lives.

In reality we manage such a complexity of cases, such a complexity. Still, it feels so simple to be here. We need to be here.

Keep supporting us.

I wish everyone a peaceful Christmas from the Southern Mediterranean.

Giulia, o/b Nave Borsini, December 2016

In July and August, a record number of SAR (save and rescue) events has tremendously engaged the Italian Navy ships deployed in the Mare Sicuro operation, and our medical teams on board. We have had 18 of our volunteers at sea. One of them, the young Sicilian midwife Manuela, has served for almost two months in a row, driven by her unwavering will to help mothers and babies.

She has assisted tens of pregnant women on board of Patrollers Bettica and Cigala Fulgosi.  Under extreme conditions, three babies were born during her time.

June 27 - Happy  event on Ship Bettica where at 7.45 pm little François Manuel , 3.3 kg, came to the world. He is the son of two Cameroonian migrants just rescued from the water. The baby was born assisted by volunteers of the Francesca Rava Foundation, Giorgio, pediatrician and Manuela, midwife. The baby was born after 4 hours of labor and both he and his mother are well. This birth was good news after the horrible experience of losing a patient on that same day.The patroller, part of the national system for maritime surveillance Safe Sea, reached the port of Vibo Valentia the morning after carrying 762 migrants, and the newborn .

July 6 - Once more a  new life has the light on board of Patroller Bettica . At 9pm, little Manuela , daughter of a Cameroonian woman recovered from a boat in difficulty.  Mom and baby are in good health. Ship Bettica then headed to the Port of Reggio Calabria , carrying 977 migrants.

July 29 -   Joy Aurora, before term was born from Congolese mother. The ship had over 1.000 people on board at that moment.  

Baby Joy Aurora
Baby Joy Aurora
Baby Manuela safely in port
Baby Manuela safely in port
Francois Manuel
Francois Manuel
Baby Manuela midwife Manuela and Emma Bajardi
Baby Manuela midwife Manuela and Emma Bajardi
Boat capsizes in front of Patroller Bettica
Boat capsizes in front of Patroller Bettica

It's going be the hardest three months coming up now: thousands of people are crossing the Mediterranean Sea from Egypt and Lybia every week, the Italian Navy and our medical teams are doubling their efforts to reach and save them before they sink and disappear into the waters. We are organizing 15 medical teams doctor+nurse and doctor+midwife to be working on board of most of the Navy units this summer.

On May 25, a boat carrying over 500 migrants capsized off the Lybian coast. Patroller Bettica's crew managed to rescue most of them during a dramatic operation. From Ship Betica, the sad testimony of Giusy, Francesca Rava's voluntary  midwife, on her third mission with the Italian Navy " Pain ... just a lot of pain ... I guess you have seen on TV what happened today ... I have no words ... Come on ... we take courage and we managed to save more than 500. But the screams the others have accompanied and will accompany us for long. Pain ...".

A few days before, they had loaded more than 350 migrants, among them many women and children. Two of them were pregnant. Our midwife cared for them. Just as they were about to land them, one of them started to bleed and Giusy, through the ultrasound equipment we have on board, could make a diagnosis of abortion. It was deeply painful and sad for the mother.

We are engaged to ensure constant presence of specialized personnel in the months to come, we need to pay their travel expenses and insurance, we need to equip them with emergency kits, we need donations to be able to be there where tragedy may enfold any moment of the day and night.

 

Midwife Giusy
Midwife Giusy
Ultrasound scanning on board
Ultrasound scanning on board
Volunteer anesthesiologist
Volunteer anesthesiologist

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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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