Following the tradition of the CNR Institute of Clinical Physiology, from which the Foundation originates, the activities and projects carried out in the field of international health cooperation are manifold.
Thanks to a deep-rooted collective awareness of the staff who, in various capacities, are involved in such initiatives.
The first cooperation projects date back to the 1980s-1990s, when the Massa Apuano Paediatric Hospital, now the “Ospedale del Cuore”, carried out health missions in Yemen, Jordan, and other more disadvantaged countries and collaborated – thanks to the support of the Red Cross – with the Tirana Hospital.
Until 2010, in collaboration with the International Heart School of Bergamo and the Scuola Superiore ‘S. Anna’, the International Master’s Degree Course in Cardiology, Cardiac Surgery and Cardio-anaesthesia was organised at the Heart Hospital. Dozens of doctors from all over the world took part in this course, to learn highly specialised techniques to then implement in their own countries, where possible.
Over time, many cardiac surgery centres have been created or consolidated with professionals trained in Massa (from Beijing, Sarajevo, Tirana and Gomel, to Tripoli).
Today, on the strength of this remarkable tradition and experience, and given the excellence it has achieved in the treatment of paediatric and adult heart disease, Monasterio has become a reference in the field of cooperative healthcare activities, not only at regional level.
The international cooperation activities carried out by the Foundation are implemented on the basis of specific projects consistent with the situation of the country and the Centre concerned, as follows:
- periodic health missions in the identified foreign facility, with health activities: from screening, to surgical intervention for paediatric patients;
- reception at the “Ospedale del Cuore” in Massa of paediatric patients for admission and the carrying out of cardiac surgery that cannot be performed locally: the young patients are accompanied by a parent (who stays at the hospital) and, in the days immediately preceding and following admission (e.g. for specific follow-up examinations), they can stay in the guest quarters present in the hospital grounds;
- training activities for medical healthcare personnel (paediatric cardiologists, paediatric cardiac surgeons, paediatric cardiac intensive care anaesthetists, etc.) and non-medical healthcare personnel (extra-corporeal circulation technicians, anaesthesia technicians, operating theatre and intensive care nurses, etc.), with training programmes tailored to the local level of expertise and the centre’s expectations, both in terms of timing and the skills required;
- implementation of a tele-consultation system to support local clinicians, for advice on diagnosis and support for on-site follow-up activities by the specialists of the Heart Hospital; this tool can also be used for “live” connections by the doctors of the foreign centre, who can participate in the clinical case discussion meetings at the Heart Hospital and in the training events organised within FTGM.
There are numerous Partners who collaborate with the Foundation in the various International Cooperation projects.
First and foremost, the Association “Un Cuore, Un Mondo” (One Heart, One World), which for years has supported the Heart Hospital in the admission of paediatric patients from abroad, and has supported many activities overseas (currently there is a project for Eritrea).
More recent, however, is the support provided by the “Rosa Pristina ONLUS” Foundation which has decided to strongly support health cooperation projects carried out by the Foundation in Albania and other disadvantaged countries.
Among the numerous other “supporters” of the Foundation, it is also worth mentioning the PCRF (Palestine Children’s Relief Fund) con with which periodic cardiac-surgical missions are carried out in the West Bank (Ramallah and Nablus) and in the Gaza Strip (Gaza).
Cover photo: two volunteers from “Ospedale del Cuore” and a child under our care in Eritrea