Pope Francis and Mariella Enoc, President of the Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital Pope Francis and Mariella Enoc, President of the Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital 

Vatican Children’s Hospital to treat little patients from Libya

An agreement signed on 7 April between the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù Paediatric Hospital provides for the reception and treatment of 25 young Libyan patients with serious diseases.

By Linda Bordoni

The Libyan healthcare system has been devastated by over a decade of war and instability. Libyan doctors and medical staff face major challenges every day, and the country’s hospitals and medical centres face problems ranging from frequent power cuts, insufficient medical supplies, and staff shortages.

The emergency caused by Covid-19 has further impacted medical care in Libya, resulting in a state of near-total insufficiency.

All this makes for a devastating scenario, in particular for those affected by serious illnesses, including children.

Responding to the crisis, the Vatican’s Bambino Gesù Pediatric Hospital has signed an agreement with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) for the treatment in Italy of pediatric patients with serious diseases.


The agreement, worth 2.425 million Euro, is part of an AICS project in favour of Libyan children suffering from serious diseases.

It will allow 25 paediatric patients, who cannot be treated in Libya, to be flown to Italy and assisted by the Bambino Gesù Hospital.

The children will be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, will receive health care, social and psychological assistance, and will be able to continue schooling. Arabic-speaking cultural mediators will facilitate proper communication between the young patients, their families and the hospital staff.

A fruitful and humane synergy

Luca Maestripieri, Director of AICS, described the agreement as the result of an effective partnership resulting from the synergy between humanitarian commitment and the clinical excellence provided by a health institution like the Bambino Gesù Hospital.

The Hospital will also take charge of clinical controls, such as Day Hospitals, and will contribute to other expenses the patients and their families face during their time in Rome.

Maestripieri noted that other partners are actively supporting the agreement, namely the AICS office in Tunis, the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and the Tripoli Embassy.

“These are all prerequisites that make me particularly confident that this new Agreement will be able to achieve the desired results and, what is more important, will give a new life to 25 young Libyan patients," he said.

A renewed sense of urgency

Speaking after the signing of the Agreement, Bambino Gesù President, Mariella Enoc, expressed the need to take responsibility for the most vulnerable.

“While senseless and bloody international conflicts, climate disasters and increasing poverty are having their effects on the smallest and most defenceless, we feel a renewed sense of urgency in our responsibility to offer availability to the 'children of the world' who need our ability to care for and welcome them.”

The little patients will be identified through the Italian Embassy in Tripoli in close coordination with the Paediatric Hospitals in Tripoli, Benghazi, Sebha and Kufr, which will share relevant medical information, and provide support for the continuation of care and treatment once they return to Libya.

The initiative is the result of a partnership between these same parties that was started in 2019, that has so far been able to offer treatment to 12 young Libyans with onco-haematological diseases.

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08 April 2022, 11:36