Italy. “Building Hope” for post COVID-19 time

Date 14.12.2020

AVSI has launched a new project to support Italy’s response to COVID-19 entitled, “Building Hope”. This multi-sectoral project will allow for investments in telemedicine and at-home rehabilitation for patients with acute post-COVID conditions, together with the Sacco Hospital of Milan, and improved diagnostic capacity for COVID testing, leading to a significant reduction in false negative tests at the Spedali Civili in Brescia.

Furthermore, the project will provide concrete help to families who are facing unemployment and the loss of income, as well as those who are struggling to ensure that their children have access to education due to lack of appropriate technology and internet connectivity.

The “Building Hope” project, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), began in June 2020 following the first wave of the pandemic and seeks to reach 12,000 direct beneficiaries.

The project seeks to accomplish the following objectives:

In the health sector

to provide support to two hospitals (Sacco Hospital in Milan and Spedali CIvili in Brescia) to ensure that the hospitals are able to provide care for COVID-19 patients through telemedicine and at-home rehabilitation to follow-up patients with post-COVID symptoms. AVSI also seeks to increase testing capacity and reduce false negatives.

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In the economic and educational sphere

to provide concrete support to families who face unemployment or loss of income due to the pandemic and those who struggle to ensure access to education for their children. Two main activities are planned: distribution of food in collaboration with the City of Milan and Italian Red Cross; and distribution of tablets and internet access for virtual learning in collaboration with the Portofranco Association of Milan.

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“AVSI has been a partner of USAID for the past twenty years in a dozen of countries across the world, and thanks to the support received from the American people, AVSI has been able to implement many projects in diverse settings. Today, we are proud to be able to transfer to Italy the knowledge and experience we have gained through these projects implemented abroad for the benefit of our own country, which today has been hit by a severe economic and social crisis,” declared Giampaolo Silvestri, secretary general of AVSI.

This activity is one element of USAID’s $50 million commitment to Italy to help save lives and build resilience for the future, one part of the U.S. Government response to the pandemic in Italy.

“The United States is proud to support AVSI’s “Building Hope” project to provide essential assistance to 12,000 people adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Italy. Since June, AVSI has been providing frontline support to hospitals in Milan and Brescia to treat COVID-19 patients; distributing food to families in need; and providing necessary resources that allow vulnerable children to participate in virtual learning,” said U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, Callista L. Gingrich.

Faith-based organizations like AVSI are often defined by an abiding sense of purpose and dedicated to aiding those most in need. They serve as lifelines for communities experiencing unprecedented hardships and advocate for the oppressed. Working together, we can fight the coronavirus and help those most affected recover from the devasting effects of this global crisis

Callista L. Gingrich, U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See

Photos by Alessandro Grassani

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