How to confront health complications linked to cultural practices that put life in danger? The question may seem random; it isn't. If the figures from the Italian institute of neuro-traumatology (INI) are correct, some 200 people die each year in Rome and in its region following surgical interventions practised outwith normal hospital establishments. Women who give birth far from appropriate structures because religion forbids them from being examined by male gynaecologists. Young girls who die because the parents insist at all costs that their clitoris is cut as is the custom in their country, but who cannot find a surgeon who agrees to commit such a "crime". Even surgeons who refuse to practise circumcision in the name of conscientious objection: all those people who find themselves in front of this wall of incomprehension are left to clandestine practitioners, in apartments or behind a shop without a guarantee of asepsis.
The result is a series of "suspect" deaths; corpses brought into morgues with cause of death as inexplicable wounds or accidents without much detail given. Haemorrhages, infections, nasty scars are provoking a veritable slaughter in Italy, claims the INI. It is to counter this phenomenon that the AMSI, the Italian association of foreign doctors, supported by the INI, has made a shock suggestion, showing a certain willingness to positively "discriminate": create a hospital where barriers of language and custom will not be a brake because the practitioners there will be Africans or Asians who know the customs but also expert doctors and properly trained. In Italy.
Dr Jessica Faroni is convinced: lots of deaths could be avoided in Latium (Rome and its surroundings), if the sick people were assured of not infringing cultural and religious prohibitions when they feel the need to go to a health institution. Now, she says, Italian law does not authorise these types of operations on patients except strictly for reasons of health. Religious or ritual motivations are not taken into account. ...This is where the idea of "helping people who have difficulty leading a life in conformity with their habits and customs" when they go to hospital comes from.
"In a hospital managed by foreign doctors, the citizens will have all the scientific guarantees of the health service," declares Dr Faroni. ...INI international hospital will be inaugurated in a few weeks, located on the heights of Rome, in Grottaferata. The doctors already contacted are specialists originally from Asia and Africa. The patients, INI assures, will have their beliefs and customs respected. And they will pay a price that is affordable for everyone, adds Foad Aodi, the future manager of the institution and founder of the AMSI. He declares that in the course of the last three years according to the statistics, some 15,000 circumcisions have been performed in hospitals, of which only 35% were by doctors of the Muslim religion. This trend also has to be corrected.Source: ADIAC