Every year we publish an Activity Report, giving up-to-date details of our programmes, a short description of each hospital, and data regarding patients' treatment
Treatment, training, information, protection and inclusion: these were the key concepts that guided us as we defined our daily fight against the pandemic.Rossella Miccio, President of EMERGENCY
An Unexpected Year
Introduction by Rossella Miccio, President of EMERGENCY, in the 2020 Report
For us at EMERGENCY, 2020 began with a lot of busy building sites, as we renovated the hospital in Hajjah, Yemen, finalised work on the new Children’s Surgical Hospital in Entebbe, Uganda, before it was supposed to open its doors in March, and we refurbished the Paediatric Centre in Nyala, Sudan, which we expected to finally reopen in the spring, having been forced to close for nine years. This last project was the only one we managed to finish in 2020, albeit six months late. Everything else had to be put on hold for at least another year.
The Covid-19 pandemic is the biggest global health crisis in a century. From the very beginning it had huge practical repercussions on our work.
So, strengthened by our past experience of other epidemics, and well aware of what it means not to have access to treatment, wherever in the world you are, we set ourselves an ambitious new goal for 2020. We set out to keep all our existing medical projects running, and at the same time start new work to meet the most pressing needs of the most vulnerable in society.
Treatment, training, information, protection and inclusion: these were the key concepts that guided us as we defined our daily fight against the pandemic.
We did this in every one of our hospitals around the world, ramping up prevention measures so we could go on giving essential treatment besides that for Covid-19. And we did it for people who had fled torture and poverty, who had defied the Mediterranean and defied above all the mistrust of European governments who prefer to put up walls than uphold their fundamental values. We did it through our clinics in Italy, which are an essential local defence for the many, many marginalised people in Italian society. And it was in Italy that we added new projects to our list, running the intensive care unit at the field hospital for Covid-19 patients in Bergamo, supporting local health authorities and shelters for migrants and homeless people, and managing a new Covid-19 department in Crotone, in Calabria, the first time we have worked in an Italian state hospital.
After the first few months, it became clear that what had begun as a medical crisis was now having serious socio-economic repercussions.
In the face of so many requests from such people, we decided to engage on a front that was new to us, namely giving out food. We decided to call the initiative ‘Nobody Left Behind’, to underline how essential it is that we leave no one behind as we tackle and overcome these hard times.
The dilemmas and contradictions posed by the pandemic over this last year raised pressing needs and require an urgent response. But they also call for us to thoroughly rework our model of society, to make it more inclusive and egalitarian. After all, if not now, when?
We can and must reorder our shared priorities, beginning with healthcare, where we need to go back to thinking of it as an investment for everyone, rather than just another product, a privilege reserved for a select few.
Our determination not to miss this chance is stronger now than ever, as is our commitment to promoting and putting into practice the universal right to healthcare, and with it the dignity of every single person, relying on your participation and support.