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Urban Suffering Studies Center



The protection of health in times of crisis

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We live in a rich country, but where social and economic inequalities - between individuals and population groups - are increasingly common. We live in a developed country full of poor and suffering. A particular cause for concern can be seen in the inequalities with respect to health, a fundamental right that is not insured in the same way for all people. Life expectancy in Italy is among the highest in the world, but a man with a low level of education lives five years less than a university graduate. The most disadvantaged get sick more, rely less on cancer screening, often postpone treatment and are afraid of getting sick because they are scared of not being able to bear the costs. Yet our health care system has the ambition to be universalistic and to ensure assistance regardless of individual income. Of course, in our country inequalities are far lower than those seen in countries with health systems that are not universalistic, but much work remains to be done to translate the principles into a widespread practice throughout the national territory. Yet access to health care, as well as access to education, should be regarded as constituent parts of the development of a population. The health care is indeed able to make an important contribution to the growth of a country, in terms of duration and quality of life, social cohesion, freedom from want and indirectly, but significantly, economic development and GDP. Improvement of human life and economic growth are frequently associated phenomena but the former can not contend to be a by- product of the second, nor can it be heavily conditioned by the intensity of the second. Unfortunately, however, especially in years of severe and persistent crisis, the health care is often sacrificed respecting other objectives, including the development of productive sectors that make the GDP grow, however, at the expense of the quality of life: from junk food to gambling games, from tobacco to low quality building. And so houses and hospitals are built, that, instead of being places to accommodate people and to offer them safety, crumble at the first telluric movement, betraying the trust and hope of the people. Yet, if buildings were constructed to a state of the art level and industries did not sell anything just to make profits, welfare could only increase for all.
In this context, the question inevitably arises, how much is the community ready to commit itself to strengthening the system of health care, as a key component of human development. The answer cannot be but positive and negative. The community (as a set of people who share not only the territory in which they reside but also a culture, a history and a practice of mutual support) has shown on several occasions their intention to confirm the protection of health as a priority objective. Not only of course when it comes to their own personal health, but also when it comes to that of those in danger of drowning in the Mediterranean, of those who are victims of natural disasters, who face a severe illness, perhaps contracted in risky work environments. An individual and organizational availability that is still widespread in our Country and that fuels social cohesion. Another positive aspect is also the cultural growth that is leading some communities to reject the substitution of health for work, once considered inevitable. On the other hand, however, the economic crisis is putting a severe strain on the resilience of our health care system. Paradoxically, just when the difficulties are bigger, we observe a gradual withdrawal of the institutions (on the basis of the short-sighted justification of the scarcity of resources) and the simultaneous transfer of roles and responsibilities on the part of single individuals, to their organizations and businesses. A move that should it become definitive is likely to result in the reduction of social rights, the weakening of participation in the planning of the institutions, the rejection of recognizing health care as a fundamental component of development, the delivery of needs pertaining to fundamental freedoms to solidarity and market mechanisms. These are not mere statements of principle but of values shared by most people (sometimes unspoken for fear of appearing old-fashioned), which we should all feel the duty to recognize and translate into concrete actions on a daily basis. In this sense a lot of work today is put into effect from the bottom, by individuals, small groups, voluntary organizations, by operators of the institutions who,
despite the distraction of decision-making levels, "insist" on keeping alive the principles and values that contribute to combat loneliness, impoverishment and suffering.


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Center for urban suffering

The study centre wishes to study the phenomenon of urban suffering, in other words the suffering that is specific to the great metropolises. Urban Suffering is a category that describes the meeting of individual suffering with the social fabric that they inhabit. The description, the understanding and the transformation of the psychological and social dynamics that develop from the meeting of ...

Who we are

The Urban Suffering Studies Center - SOUQ - arises from Milan, a place of complexity and economic and social contradictions belonged to global world.Tightly linked to Casa della Carità Foundation, which provides assistance and care to unserved populations in Milan (such as immigrants legal and illegal, homeless, vulnerable minorities), the Urban Suffering Studies Center puts attention on ...


Centro studi Souq Management commitee: Laura Arduini, Virginio Colmegna (presidente), Silvia Landra, Simona Sambati, Benedetto Saraceno ; Scientific commitee: Mario Agostinelli, Angelo Barbato, Maurizio Bonati, Adolfo Ceretti, Giacomo Costa, Ota de Leonardis,  Giulio Ernesti, Sergio Escobar, Luca Formenton, Francesco Maisto, Ambrogio Manenti, Claudia Mazzucato, Daniela ...
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ISSN 2282-5754 Souquaderni [online] by SOUQ - Centro Studi sulla Sofferenza Urbana - CF: 97316770151
Last update: 26/11/2020

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