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COSP 16: Italy’s Locatelli presents the DAMA pathway to the UN, active in 20 hospitals in Italy

NEW YORK, JUNE 14 – What happens when a person with intellectual disabilities becomes ill? When they are unable to adequately communicate symptoms or cooperate to undergo tests? There are more than 20 hospitals in Italy that offer a dedicated pathway to assist these people, the Disabled Advanced Medical Assistance (DAMA), which the Italian Disabilities Minister Alessandra Locatelli brought to the attention of the UN today, during a side event of COSP 16, the 16th Annual Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Disabled Advanced Medical Assistance o DAMA“For Italy, the matter of access to care is particularly important. We have developed a network to ensure support in accessing care in hospital settings, particularly for people with intellectual and relational disabilities who often find it difficult to deal with even small tests, such as blood tests, x-rays, and teeth cleaning,” Locatelli said at the side event at the Conference of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on “Ensuring Accessibility and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Health and Support Services.

The first test was made in Milan in 2000 when San Paolo Hospital opened a department dedicated to the medical-hospital care and reception of people with severe intellectual and neuromotor disabilities. San Paolo’s pathway became a regional project on March 30, 2001, developing and consolidating an organizational model capable of overcoming the difficulties that people with disabilities have in facing the hospital, through taking charge of the needs and the problem presented, using skills and resources already present in a modern hospital, with a personalization of the intervention that takes into account the needs of everyone: a person with disabilities, family members and caregivers, health care personnel.

San Paolo’s DAMA team independently operates a call center dedicated to taking care of problems and building the hospital pathway. The national DAMA network-which includes departments in Mantua, Varese, Bologna, Empoli, and Bolzano-was illustrated today by Locatelli and Filippo Ghelma, medical director of ASST Santi Paolo e Carlo in Milan.

In Italy, the Convention (CRPD) became a law in2009. Minister Locatelli, in the plenary session, outlined Italy’s commitments to the inclusion of people with disabilities and the new framework the country is designing with its disability reform, which declines the core principles of the UN Convention. “We are implementing all the principles of the Convention through norms, measures, reforms, directly involving the different institutional levels and in particular the world of associations and Ngos,” the minister said, reiterating Italy’s belief in reversing the order of political priorities, “putting people and families at the center and demonstrating that to strengthen our communities it is essential to invest in everyone’s talents and abilities.” (@OnuItalia)

Il giornale Italiano delle Nazioni Unite. Ha due redazioni, una a New York, l’altra a Roma.

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