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2013-10-08

AFRICA/SOMALIA - The work of Annalena Tonelli is still alive 10 years after her murder

Mogadishu (Agenzia Fides) - 10 years have gone by since the killing of Annalena Tonelli, the Italian volunteer who for 33 years had assisted the Somali population affected by tuberculosis. Annalena was killed on the evening of October 5, 2003 in the care home she founded in Boroma in Somaliland (northern Somalia) by two armed men (see Fides 06/10/2003) .
In June of the same year she was awarded the Nansen Refugee Award, the award given each year by the High Commissioner for the United Nations (UNHCR) to individuals or groups who have distinguished themselves for "outstanding service to the cause of refugees".
"I left for Africa determined to shout the Gospel in the wake of Charles de Foucauld" Annalena had told Fides Agency (see Fides 25 June 2002). "I am not a doctor. I have a degree in law even if it is true that I have some certificates and diplomas in medicine. However A am an advisor of the World Health Organization in the field of Tuberculosis Control. I am also a pioneer of the Global Policy launched by WHO in 1993 for the control of Tuberculosis in the world called DOTS (Directly Observed Therapy Short chemotherapy)".
This is how Annalena had described the challenges she faced every day: "TB is one of the first opportunistic infections that HIV patients contract in endemic areas such as Somalia. Terminally ill AIDS patients come to us because they suffer from tuberculosis. While we take care of tuberculosis we also treat all our opportunistic infections that patients contract due to their weak immune system".
In Borama hospital and the school for deaf children she had founded, her work continues, as reported by the documentary made for the occasion by the UNHCR which was recently screened in Nairobi. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 08/10/2013)

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