Presentation of the White Book on Health Inequities in Italy: the relevance for migration and public health

On 2 December 2014, the Conference “Health for All, nobody excluded” was held at the historical hospital San Gallicano in Rome, home of the National Institute for Health, Migration and Poverty (NIHMP). The NIHMP is a public institution under the Ministry of Health, which provides social and health care services for migrant population. Representatives from several Italian ministries and other policy-makers were present at the conference and shared their perspective on the theme Health Inequities and Migration.

The Italian Ministry of Health is implementing many of the recommendations from the Health 2020 policy framework, one of which is the publication of a White Book on Inequity in Health, presented by Professor Giuseppe Costa from the University of Turin. The book was elaborated by a working group at the ‘Permanent Conference for relations between the State, the Regions and Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano’ (also known as the State-Regions), which is a collegial body aimed at fostering the institutional collaboration between the Italian state and local governments. During the meeting the White Book was presented. Focus was given to the way migration represents a unique entry point to reduce inequities in health. In order to do so, reliable data represents the foundation for any effective public health intervention. The conference, thanks to its inter-sectorial nature, represented a good occasion for the exchange of data among sectors. For example, the National Director of the Ministry of Interior for Civil Freedom and Immigration brought an interesting data from the economic point of view: migrants in Italy are contributing to 11% of the gross domestic product (GDP) while they represent the 7% of the population.

The Director of the Health Department of the Sicily Region, Mrs Lucia Borsellino, was also present at the conference and highlighted the importance of regional cooperation in order to act on the determinants of health and reduce heath inequities, as  Italian regions have large competences in the health sector. For this reasons she announced that the Health Contingency Plan on Migration and Health of the Sicily Region, developed in collaboration with the WHO project ‘Public Health Aspects of Migration in Europe’ (PHAME) will be brought as an example to the ‘Permanent Conference for relations between the State, the Regions and Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano’ to share this best practice with other Italian regions.