Home » Schillaci, from the Red Cross 160 years of altruism and dedication – Healthcare

Schillaci, from the Red Cross 160 years of altruism and dedication – Healthcare

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Schillaci, from the Red Cross 160 years of altruism and dedication – Healthcare

A 160-year history of “selflessness and dedication”. With these words, the Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci today awarded Sister Franca Caporali, of the Grosseto Red Cross, the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest honor that the International Red Cross awards every two years.

“This important anniversary – said Schillaci – offers us the opportunity to celebrate the fundamental role that the Italian Red Cross plays in the field of health and social assistance, serving the most fragile and vulnerable people everywhere. The symbol of this commitment today it is the face of Sister Franca Caporali in Vaglio, who with self-sacrifice and a spirit of sacrifice dedicated her life to others, in over 60 years spent for so long outside our borders, in the most difficult scenarios of war and poverty: from Somalia to Congo, from Mozambique to Bosnia, Albania, Kosovo.

An activity – he underlined – continued with extreme courage and generosity even after the experience of the kidnapping suffered in Albania. To her, the emblem of personal assistance, I give this medal with a deep sense of admiration, expressing my gratitude towards all those who bring help and comfort to those in situations of great fragility”.

“It is good to remember – stated the minister – the precious contribution that the Italian Red Cross makes in essential areas for the protection of health: ambulance services, support to 118; the contribution provided during the pandemic through high-performance means biocontainment. And also the commitment spent in support of the Usmaf offices in border areas and at airports; in the promotion of blood donation and prevention, and in this regard I remember the screening and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases”. “Your example – concluded Schillaci – revives the sense of community everywhere and responds to the essential principle that guides our Health Service: a principle of humanity that puts the person at the centre”.

Franca Caporali, a Red Cross nurse with a courageous life

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Almost 87 years, lived with courage and dedication to others and awarded today with the Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest honor that the International Red Cross awards every two years, presented by the Minister of Health Orazio Schillaci in the headquarters of the dicastery in Rome. That of Sister Franca Caporali Vaglio, in the Red Cross since 1959, is an intense life story: a volunteer nurse, she worked for ten years in Africa in various countries and participated in numerous international missions in Romania, Sarajevo, Kosovo, Albania and in Baghdad.

Engaged in health education and first aid training, she also had a very strong experience, that of being kidnapped, together with four Red Cross doctors, in March 1997, during a mission to treat children who could not reach Italy. She was kidnapped together with four doctors by armed men for the purpose of blackmail towards the Italian government, she was freed after a brief imprisonment”.

“Of those moments – she explains – I still remember the Kalashnikov that was aimed at my neck, behind my head, something that for twenty years I was unable to talk about, and the fact that I thought that with the shoes I was wearing I would never have been able to escape.” It was celebrated first of all by the Red Cross, with president Rosario Valastro. “The entire Italian Red Cross – explains Valastro – is honoured, we feel this medal is a bit ours. In these 160 years of activity we have contributed to the diffusion of hygiene standards, health education and therefore prevention, as well as reaction, when there has been a health emergency. Speaking of these first 160 years, I start from the ambulance with the cart and horse and look today at the high biocontainment ambulance, because I see a single path, that of serving the most vulnerable people in the most correct way and with the best capabilities techniques that we have today”.

Also present was the president of the Lazio Region Francesco Rocca, former president of the Italian Red Cross, who says: “Franca is a pillar of the Red Cross, she has done many missions, and in Grosseto she is a source of inspiration for young volunteers”.

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