Press Release

The project for a “Paediatric network against ill- treatment of minors” has grown beyond Italian borders

Tirana, 18 October 2016 – The project for a “Paediatric network against ill- treatment of minors”, launched and supported by the pharmaceutical company, Menarini, together with Telefono Azzurro, the Italian Federation of Paediatricians, and the Association of Italian Paediatric Hospitals, has grown beyond Italian borders.

Dr. Luigi Nigri, head of the project on behalf of the Italian Federation of Paediatricians, opened the main session of the International Congress of the Albanian Pediatric Society in Tirana, presenting the project to more than 500 paediatricians, not only from the Balkans but also countries such as Romania, Switzerland, Turkey and others.

A huge amount of interest and enthusiasm was expressed for the initiative, to the extent that the representatives of the Albanian government present were immediately questioned regarding the possible development of an equivalent project.

The project, originated in Italy and the first of its kind in the world, foresees  the creation of a network of 15,000 paediatricians and general practitioners deployed over the entire Italian territory who act as ‘sentinels’ in the fight against child abuse. These physicians, who have been 'trained' on the skills needed to recognise the unexpressed ‘sentinel’ warning signs of child abuse,  shall in turn become reference people for their colleagues on a local level, providing qualified information and advice. This project for the creation of an anti-abuse network was launched last May in the city of Florence and is supported  by Menarini with an investment of one million Euro. Local training courses are currently on-going in numerous Italian regions.

“This is a project of great scientific and social importance”, commented Professor Anila Godo, Chairperson of the Albanian Pediatric Society, Director of the Department of Paediatrics of the Madre Teresa University Hospital and ex Minister of Health for Albania, “which demonstrates just how efficient the Italian paediatric system is in responding to the needs of children and their families in terms of health and well-being. Menarini is giving a clear signal and is setting an example by demonstrating its close relationship with the world of paediatrics. This not only includes pharmaceutical research but also supporting projects like these which reach out to every one of us. We must hope that this example will be followed by organisations with important financial influence in every country.”

Professor Ersilia Buonomo, from the department of Biomedicine and Prevention at the University of Tor Vergata in Rome, has always been active in this area. Commenting on the project, she highlighted that “Italian paediatricians, historically known for being attentive to the social needs of children, have come forward to fill a gap in the healthcare system regarding a complex and previously overlooked need. I hope that it will be possible to create a network involving all social and institutional entities, including associations of volunteers, for an efficient management of this delicate problem, for the benefit of children and their families.”