The right to medical care is recognized by law in Italy, but is actually often denied to immigrants, foreigners and poor people who do not have access to treatment because of their scarce knowledge of their rights, linguistic barriers and the difficulty of finding their way within a complex health system.
In a climate of widespread fear and growing racism, migrants often do not turn to public facilities as they are afraid of being reported to the police or the authorities.
For these reasons EMERGENCY began to work in Italy, operating within prisons (2005-2007), treating immigrants, and situations of social distress.
In 2006 EMERGENCY opened an Outpatient Clinic in Palermo, Sicily, to guarantee free healthcare to migrants - with or without residence permits - and to any person in need.
In December 2010 EMERGENCY opened a second Outpatient Clinic in Marghera, near Venice. A third one, in Polistena (calabria Region, Southern Italy), started activies in July 2013.
Since December 2012, our cultural mediators offer social-medical assistance to migrants at the Information point in Sassari (Sardinia).
Four mobile clinics started assistance directly where it is needed.
Other than a few professionals needed to guarantee continuity and smooth running of the Clinics, the staff are unpaid professional volunteers.