Medici del Mondo Italia is born – or rather reborn –, the Italian chapter of the independent international movement of Médecins du Monde. Starting from the legacy of the work carried out by MdM France and with the will to do even more for the health of everyone in Italy and around the world, Medici del Mondo Italia was formally constituted on December 22nd, 2020.

Born in France and working today in 73 countries worldwide, the independent international movement of Médecins du Monde aims to guarantee to the most vulnerable people and their communities the right to healthcare and access to health services, through our 373 innovative medical programs and evidence-based advocacy initiatives and the engagement of thousands of professional activists and volunteers.

MdM in Italy, an organization born in 1993

The birth of Medici del Mondo Italia dates back to 1993, when a group of doctors from Milan, supported by Médecins du Monde France, formed an association to promote emergency intervention during the crisis in the former Yugoslavia. Until 2004 they also carried out domestic programs for homeless people and drug users in the area of the Milan Central Station, as well as international projects, especially in Ecuador. Then, in 2004, the activities ceased.

Years later, to respond to the growing number of migrants who have been trying to reach Europe since 2014, on October 15th, 2015 the Italian mission of MdM was born, with the contribution of Médecins du Monde France and Medicos del Mundo España.

Its activities, aimed above all at migrant women and unaccompanied minors, have been developed in three regions – Calabria, Lazio, and eastern Sicily – and have focused in particular on issues related to gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health and mental health. At the beginning of 2020, with the outbreak of the pandemic, the Italian mission immediately contributed to its areas of intervention to prevent and mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on the most vulnerable populations. Medici del Mondo Italia was finally formally and officially constituted as an Italian chapter on December 20th, 2020.

Addressing inequalities in Italy, but always turning a hand towards the world

As Angelo Pirola explains, vice-president of Medici del Mondo Italia, “up to now, both from a human resources and a financial point of view, the projects have been made possible by the network of Médecins du Monde. Now Medici del Mondo Italia is reborn as a truly Italian organization, with the aim of being useful in our territory starting from the values of Médecins du Monde. Our mission, therefore, is the defence of the right to health and human rights in general, paying particular attention to vulnerable populations residing in Italy but always turning a hand towards the world.

What are the most important challenges that Medici del Mondo will have to face in Italy? Explains Pirola: “Surely addressing the causes of the inequality of our time. We want to contribute to the establishment of a strong, united, respectful, open and innovative civil society. We must continue to grow as humanity with respect for diversity, cooperating and winning the battle on the causes that generate hatred and violence between people, considered a public health problem for us. We are a privileged country, because we have a unique cultural and scientific heritage in the world. We must continue to assert it for us, among us, and for those who need us.”

Written by Elisa Bertoli