Mr. Angelo Loris Brunetta, TIF Board Member, along with Ms. Lily Cannon, TIF Operations Manager, formed TIF’s delegation team that participated in a two-day visit to Austria, on September 24-25, 2018. Austria constitutes a country of special interest for TIF, and a focus of the ‘THALassaemia In Action (THALIA)’ project, due to its being one of the main entry points into the EU for migrants traveling by land.
Currently in Austria, migrants covered by the health insurance system (indicating that they are in employment, or registered as unemployed, or as asylum seekers) receive medical care at public hospitals; migrants who are – for various reasons – not in the ‘system’ receive medical care by NGO’s (e.g. AmberMed) or specific hospitals that provide services free-of-charge to needy populations.
While in Austria, TIF’s delegation team visited:
- The Hematology & Oncology Department of the Saint Anna’s Children’s Hospital
- The Hematology & Hemostaseology Department of Vienna General Hospital
- The AmberMed NGO’s offices, and
- The Austrian Red Cross Headquarters
The team also delivered a presentation about the current status of thalassaemia globally and the role of TIF at the Centre for Public Health of the Medical University of Vienna, followed by a lively discussion focusing on prevention programmes / screening of carriers established in numerous countries, and a separate meeting with ORPHANET/NKSE representatives.
Next steps to be taken:
- Follow-up visit in spring 2019 to further learn about the current health situation of migrants, in particular via visiting hospitals providing free-of-charge treatment to uninsured persons.
- Provide further educational opportunities for treating doctors from across Austria, through the eThalED platform and a dedicated workshop.