International health cooperation: to leave or not to leave

  • Andrea Gazzelloni Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù
  • Fabio Martini
  • Valentina Marasca
  • Silvia Paoletti
  • Francesca Marzoli
  • Francesca De Lucia
  • Emanuele Lisanti
  • Giuseppe La Torre
Keywords: Nursing, International Health Cooperation, Low-income countries, Disasters


Background: Disaster or emergency is a situation in which a community, region or country, often in a sudden or dramatic way, is no longer able to meet some or all of its needs and which requires an external assistance. The Center for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters reports that on average, 350 to 400 disasters occur annually worldwide, involving approximately 300 million people, resulting in the death of around 100,000. International health cooperation is therefore one of the areas of greatest commitment for the international community.

Methods: The aim is to identify the characteristics and motivations of those who would participate in a humanitarian cooperation mission. A cross-sectional observational study was conducted through the administration of a questionnaire of 20 items, to investigate areas: personal data, training and employment, specific knowledge and personal motivations, in a convenience sample of nurses, pediatric nurses, and midwives reached among students enrolled in the master's degree course in "Nursing and Midwifery Sciences" of the University of Rome "Sapienza".

Results: 88 professionals: 84.1% nurses, 12.5% ​​pediatric nurses, 3.4% midwives. The mean age of the sample is 30.61 years (SD ± 8.622). 77.3% of the sample is female, and 80.7% currently employed. 56.8% of the sample is engaged/married and 79.5% declares that they have no children. 95.5% of the sample never attended courses on international cooperation. 51.1% would leave for a humanitarian mission. At the X²-test (p=0.05), having children (p=0.026), participation in courses on cooperation (p=0.045), language knowledge, in particular, French (p=0.026) and Spanish (p=0.047) are statistically significant.

Conclusions: There was no particular tendency to leave. There was a low level of training regarding humanitarian cooperation. Courses and training could be a strategy both to improve knowledge and skills and to spread the culture to be part of an international health professional community.