Dr. Concetta Mirisola is the new Temporary Commissioner of the NIHMP. “The NIHMP will still play an important role”, says Minister Fazio
On 6 April 2011, the Italian Minister of Health Ferruccio Fazio appointed Dr. Concetta Mirisola as Temporary Commissioner of the NIHMP.
During his speech, Minister Fazio presented Dr Mirisola, who will continue her office as Secretary General of the Italian Higher Council for Health, and dealt with the emergency of migrants landing at Lampedusa. “Italy is now living a particular phase as regards the issues that represent the objective of the NIHMP’s work”, said Minister Fazio, “and it is in emergency situations like the one we are experiencing that the important role of the NIHMP is pointed out. In particular, there are a number of issues that need to be discussed, and the first one is the project “Accoglienza 2011” (later explained by Dr Mirisola). In addition, a decree is being issued for implementing syndromic surveillance on the high number of landing migrants, it is particularly focused on thirteen syndromes including pulmonary TB, respiratory infections with fever and encephalomeningitis. Another point to be mentioned is the high level Conference that will be held in Rome on 13 April and that provides the participation of the European Ministers of Health, the European Commissioner and the Director of the WHO regional Office. The Conference is aimed at planning a common strategy with the WHO based on the surveillance of the above-mentioned syndromes. During the Conference, that will see the participation of Dr Mirisola, all the themes that the NIHMP has dealt with for many years will be discussed”. “For this reason” concluded Minister Fazio, “I believe that the Institute will continue to play an important role for Italy”.
Dr Mirisola showed gratitude for the confidence the Minister placed on her and she outlined the activity carried on by the Institute during the last 8 months of 2010, with 27,685 medical interventions, cultural mediation services, psychological and legal assistance. She highlighted the holistic approach to people adopted, based on the work of a multicultural staff, including cultural mediators, who are the symbol of the Institute. She also spoke about the NIHMP’s activity in Lampedusa, which is about to start. “The support of Minister Fazio allowed me to start working before my official installation in collaboration with the Sicily regional centre of the NIHMP and with the Regional Councillor Russo. Our objective was to propose a social and medical reception model for migrants landing at Lampedusa also suitable for being exported to similar contexts. Dr Prestileo (Responsible of NIHMP Sicily), Councillor Russo and me have planned a project for the promotion of an intervention model to be shared with the other Regions and exported in case of emergency. It provides a triage activity on the wharfs to be carried out in synergy with the health care services offered by other subjects such as ASP Palermo, the Italian Red Cross, and Médecins Sans Frontières”. “The project”, added Dr Mirisola, “will last for 60 days; at the end of the first month, the implemented activity and the possibility of reorganising management will be evaluated, as well as the conditions that required the intervention will be verified. First reception of migrants will be managed by cultural mediators, health care interventions will be implemented by the doctors and the health care professionals of the NIHMP and the ASP. Migrants will be initially assisted at the outpatient department of Lampedusa and, if needed, at the hospitals identified by the Council Department for Health through the regional helicopter rescue service. The project also guarantees psychological support to landing migrants. With regard to medical research, which is the main objective of the Institute, a database will be created for data collection and daily monitoring of clinical pictures; the quality of the collected data will be evaluated on a 5% sample. The health conditions of the local population will be also monitored”.