Responding to a request by the health authorities in the Lombardy region of Italy for assistance on March 31, Norway is sending a medical team of 19 nurses and doctors.
Minister of Health Bent Høie (H) said that this is the right time to assist a country facing enormous challenges. The official death toll in Italy, which is approaching 16,000, is the highest in the world.
The Norwegian health authorities has considered that the situation in Norway is manageable, and that the expected peak of infection is still some time ahead.
“We are in control of the infection situation in Norway, while Italy is at the peak of the crisis,” said Høie.
Assistance can reap valuable experience
Norway will send 19 nurses and doctors and three logistics staff who come from hospitals across the country. The Health Minister said he believes that the burden on each hospital will thus be small and the value of this team will be greater in Italy.
He added that Italian doctors have taken the time to attend video conferencing and to share their experiences with Norway, and that this has made Noway better able to plan.
“The Norwegian team will bring home knowledge and experience that the Norwegian health service will benefit from,” added Høie.
It was just before the turn of the month that the health authorities in the Lombardy region asked for help. Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) said that now we are all showing what solidarity in Europe means in practice.
“We have to help each other when the crisis strikes, and it’s nice to be able to help Italy now because it is of the hardest hit countries,” she explained.
The medical team is similar to the previous team that Norway last year sent to both the Democratic Republic of Congo during the Ebola outbreak and to Samoa during the measles outbreak.
Søreide: ”Well received”
The team is headed by the Directorate for Social Security and Emergency Planning (DSB) in collaboration with the Directorate of Health.
It will be led by Johnny Aslaksen, an inspector in the Civil Defence in Hordaland, according to NRK.
He said the team could travel to Northern Italy as early as Tuesday and will be in Italy for four weeks, probably in Bergamo.
The health personnel will complete their quarantine after their stay abroad before Norway reaches the expected peak, the ministries said in a press release. They would take care of their personal
protection equipment and some medical supplies.
“Our offer to send a medical team is very well received. Earlier today, I spoke to my Italian colleague, Luigi Di Maio, who thanked us warmly for the help,” said the Foreign Minister.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today