Solidarity beyond war is the testimony of Major Ciccotti Mario (Deputy Secretary General of AMI) for the pharmacological assistance of populations in need in crisis areas around the world where military personnel and military chaplains have served and still serve.
The synergic aid between the Banco Farmaceutico d’Italia Foundation and the Italian military saw the collection of medicines and the distribution of donated medicines between 2017 and 2021 to 24 healthcare facilities in 7 countries (Afghanistan, Lebanon, Niger, Libya, Kosovo, Djibouti and Somalia).
Major Ciccotti’s initiative deserved the Cosimo Piccinno Award presented to him on 5 November 2021, with a summary of the activities carried out summarised here.
SOLIDARITY BEYOND WAR
(by Maj Mario Ciccotti)
The initiative aims to assist populations in need of help in crisis areas where the Armed Forces and Military Chaplains are present. The support regarding the availability of medicines is guaranteed by the valuable action implemented by the Banco Farmaceutico Foundation, which initiates the collection of medicines on the basis of the real needs represented by the territory. Needs are identified thanks to the collaboration between the civil military cooperation cells and the military chaplain present in the area, who together identify the targets to be assisted and act as guarantors for the success of the project. Logistical support is provided by the Armed Force logistics chain, which, through the use of air carriers, distributes the medicines directly to the areas of operation.
The initiative originated in Afghanistan in 2017, when I was employed as Director of Pharmacy at the Herat Field Hospital. Particularly struck by the plight of the Afghan population, especially in the paediatric age (Afghanistan is the country with the highest mortality rate in the world), I contacted the Banco Farmaceutico Foundation and acquired their possible willingness to collaborate on pharmaceutical assistance as part of a project entitled “Pharmaceutical assistance project for the Afghan paediatric population”. The results of the collaboration undertaken between the Resolute Support Mission’s assets (where the pharmacy inside the hospital was located), the contribution of the Military Chaplain in gathering useful information to identify the targets to be assisted, as well as the professional contribution of the Civil Military Cooperation cells in the theatre of operations, made it possible to deliver 400 kg of medicines to the nearby Gozareh paediatric clinic. 
The success of the initiative has been positively received by both the Military Ordinariate and the Inter-Forces Summit Operations Command, who have decided to raise the collaboration with the Banco Farmaceutico Foundation to a higher level, of assistance to all theatres of operation where Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) cells and Military Chaplains are present. As a pharmacist who has worked for seven years in the Pharmacy of the Military Polyclinic in Rome “Celio”, within the framework of pharmaceutical support to Out-of-Area Missions, I had the opportunity to follow the framework agreement contributing with my experience to the realisation of the final agreement signed on 10 May 2018 at the Interforce Operational Command. 
The results are as follows: Between May 2018 and June 2019, 148,176 packages of medicines left Italy, representing a value of €1,766,525 and 16,588 kilograms of goods. The material was donated to 24 healthcare facilities in seven countries: Afghanistan, Lebanon, Niger, Libya, Kosovo, Djibouti and Somalia. The facilities treat approximately 1,359,000 poor people, whom the donated drugs will help. The ‘operation is the result of an agreement between Banco Farmaceutico, the Inter-Forces Summit Operations Command and the Military Ordinariate signed on 10 May 2018.The agreement is currently operational and has allowed for the current year to send 238,279 euros worth of medicines equal to 56,684 packages to Afghanistan, Djibouti, Lebanon and Somalia.