COVID 19 EMERGENCY - Implementation of Anti-COVID-19 Measures to Give Support to the Homeless Population and/or Socially Excluded People in Informal Settlements in Rome

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Project location: Italy, Rome
Project start date: March 2020 - Project end date: April 2020
Project number: 2020-003
Beneficiary: Intersos, Organizzazione Umanitaria Onlus

INTERSOS has been active since several years in the areas of Rome to provide support to both migrants and the resident population in conditions of health and social vulnerability.
The fields of intervention have been mainly: child protection; case management and comprehensive support to women gender-based violence (GBV) survivors or exposed to risks of GBV (through the services provided at the Center INTERSOS24 in Rome); medical advice and social support for access to healthcare for marginalized people.
INTERSOS has adapted its operations based on the medical emergency that is currently unfolding in Italy. It will channel its resources towards prevention work, and support the response to the ongoing emergency, focusing especially on people whose health conditions and level of social exclusion puts them most at risk.

Considering the spread of COVID-19 and the orders issued by the Italian Minister of Health, containing urgent measures regarding the containment and management of the epidemiological emergency from COVID-19, INTERSOS interventions will focus on supporting the most vulnerable populations and the Regional Health Systems (Sistema Sanitario Regionale, SSR). In particular, interventions need to foster:

• Access to health-related information regarding prevention measures (hygiene, health education, information on context-specific rules and standards).
• Early detection of symptomatic cases and/or cases that require quarantine and/or self-isolation.
• Advocacy to ensure the adequate taking in charge of people in conditions of higher fragility, by the SSR and institutions.

INTERSOS has ongoing social health operations in Rome, with a social health clinic and a mobile team. The operations' activities are now focused on supporting implementation of anti-COVID-19 measures for homeless people and/or socially excluded people. The objectives are to guarantee health protection for the target population and to support the Regional Health Systems of the Lazio

The general aim of this emergency plan is to boost activities that promote and implement accessibility and efficiency of anti-COVID-19 prevention measures. These activities will focus on homeless and/or socially excluded people. At the same time, INTERSOS will support the Regional Health Systems by adopting strategies to rapidly identify people with symptoms and/or corresponding with the definition of "suspicious cases" among the target population (see the Ministerial Circular issued on 8 March 2020: Circolare Ministeriale 8.03.2020). By working to reduce the outbreak in its areas of intervention, INTERSOS aims to safeguard individual and collective health.


Considering the type of prevention measures to be guaranteed for guests and operators, and the difficulty in guaranteeing them, and in order to protect individual and collective health, the following will be implemented:
- reception is suspended until the epidemiological situation gets better, in terms of the incidence and prevalence of COVID-19;
- the people currently hosted at CCP I24 are transferred on Wednesday 11th March; the Case Manager continues the punctual advocacy work in order to solicit their reception in the institutional reception system.
In consideration of the increasing health needs, in particular referring to the population living in conditions of fragility and social marginality,
In consideration of the proximity of the CCP I24 to the health facility, as well as to the Caritas Reception Center for Unaccompanied Minors, as well as to other socio-sanitary structures situated in the compound in Via di Torre spaccata 157, the following will be arranged:
- closure of the clinic “Ambulatorio Popolare INTERSOS24” regarding residential healthcare activities,
- psychological therapies will be continued via Skype, in agreement with the patients.
In consideration of the increasing health needs, in particular referring to the population living in conditions of fragility and social marginality,
The outreach activities, in partnership with UNICEF, will be strengthened and reoriented as following:
- N. 200 kits of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including:
    • N. 200 surgical masks;
    • N. 110 ffp2 masks;
    • N. 200 TNT coats;
    • N. 200 panoramic glasses mask;
    • N. 200 TNT hairnet with latex-free elastic bands;
    • N. 250 units of alcohol-based detergent for hand and hygienic device used by operators;
    •  N. 500 personal hygiene kits consisting in: N. 500 alcohol-based cleaners, N. 500 packs of disposable wipes,
    • N. 5 multilingual information flyers.

    1. N. 3 weekly sessions of health education in target places (see next paragraph)
    2. Development and dissemination of multilingual information material on prevention measures and early detection paths;
    3. Socio-sanitary orientation to the services and to the territorial paths for symptomatic people in conditions of vulnerability.

At the same time, the Staff is engaged in advocacy work towards the institutions through meetings, letters, production of targeted information material, mobilizations in synergy with civil society and organizations active in the area. For these purposes, the institutions are asked to:
1) providing through ASLs, in synergy with health care organizations already active in the area, the active offer of health education sessions, awareness-raising activities of anti-COVID-19 hygiene and health standards and orientation to local services for homeless and/or vulnerable population, as well as facilitating access to sanitary facilities where necessary;
2) providing paths for the early identification of symptomatic cases among the homeless population and/or in conditions of exclusion and social marginality, as well as places suitable for reception, in case there is a need to carry out quarantine or self-isolation;
3) extending reception in the structures assigned to the so-called “cold emergency “(the closure of which is currently scheduled for March 31st) in order to prevent hundreds of people from finding themselves on the street, being therefore further exposed to the risk of contracting respiratory infections, including COVID-19.
4) increase reception places, in particular for woman-child families.

 The Nando and Elsa Peretti Foundation has awarded a grant for this project to achieve these secific objectives:
    • % of homeless people and/or socially excluded people in Rome access to health-related information regarding the correct behaviours to adopt and specific measures to prevent COVID-19.
    • % of homeless people and/or socially excluded people in Rome who manifest common symptoms of infection (cough, fever, cold, shortness of breath) are identified and oriented to surveillance paths established by the RHS (Regional Health System).
    • The Regional Health System, in cooperation with key local institutions (Municipality, Prefecture, Civil Protection Committees, identify specific paths and reception facilities for homeless people and/or socially excluded people of Rome

Expected Results and indicators
Operations in Rome will reach:
N.650 (for month) homeless people and/or socially excluded people will access to health-related information regarding prevention measures anti-COVID19.
For N.350 (for month) homeless people and/or socially excluded people, pre-triage of the main symptoms concerning COVID-19 will be conducted
N. 350 (for month) hygiene kits will be distributed to the target population in high-risk informal settlements.

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