Second assessment of migrant health needs, Lampedusa and Linosa, Italy



In 2011, there was an unexpected flow of migrants to Greece, south Italy and Malta; about 60 000 migrants from Africa debarking on the Italian island of Lampedusa alone, historically a prominent destination for migrants seeking to enter the European Union (EU). In consequence, the WHO Regional Office for Europe carried out a series of assessment and operational missions in these countries; in Italy, the islands of Lampedusa and Linosa, in particular, were in focus. The main objectives of the missions to Italy in 2011 were: to review the situation and the readiness of the Italian health system to deal with displaced populations, migrants and refugees arriving in the country as a result of North African crisis; and to assess the preparedness of the system for coping with the possible public health consequences of a potential massive influx from North and Sub-Saharan Africa to the islands of Lampedusa and Linosa. In this regard, at the request of the Ministry of Health of Italy, a second assessment mission to these islands took place on 16−19 May 2012 with the overall purpose of providing recommendations to the Ministry of Health of Italy on the development of preparedness guidelines for use by the local health authorities in the event of a large flow of migrants.