Implementing Public Health Policies in practice: how Local Health Authority Roma 1 managed the Ukrainian refugee crisis
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Local Health Authority Roma 1, Italy
Division of Public Health, Italian Red Cross International
Section of Hygiene - University Department of Life Sciences and Public Health, Università Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Rome, Italy
Department of Public Health and Infectious Diseases, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A1695
Background and Objective:
Russian invasion of Ukraine forced citizens to flee as refugees. Displaced people face many obstacles, including physical, mental, institutional and economic ones. The migrant population represents a Public Health challenge given its different epidemiological and social backgrounds. Local Public Health implementation of the guidelines developed to assist the refugees. Our objective was to provide practical solutions to the emerging problems pertaining Local Public Health implementation of the guidelines developed to assist the refugees, in the context of the Local Health Authority (LHA) Roma 1.

LHA Roma 1 developed a strategic plan based on local expertise, national and international guidelines to ensure infectious disease prevention and control, as well as continuity of care for non-communicable diseases and mental health. It was later refined based on national and regional decrees, the available literature, ECDC indications, and the feedback from the health professionals on the field. Community engagement, real time feedback and the formation of a multidisciplinary and multicultural central team allowed a smoother implementation process which covered refugee needs.

Many challenges were faced during the implementation phase which required sensible and timely solution. These challenges include the necessity of rapid resource provision, overcoming linguistic and cultural barriers, guaranteeing a standard of care across multiple sites and coordination of interventions. Despite these, during the first three months of operations more than 9300 refugees were assisted and assigned an STP code, which guarantees healthcare services on par with Italian citizens.

Refugee assistance and socio-sanitary integration are an essential part of Public Health practice. Bridging the gap between refugee population needs and available healthcare provision requires sound leadership within a responsive and collaborative workforce. Evidence-based practices implemented to increase local health system resilience to the current crisis foster a preparedness-based environment to face the emergencies of the future.

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