“We All Bleed the Same Colour”: DoctorsinItaly’s #GiveBackToMilan

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A talk with Nadia Neytcheva (CEO and co-founder of DoctorsinItaly) and Federico Poggio (event manager) led us to discover what this startup is about and why their event #GiveBackToMilan is an opportunity to think about our health, our luck and how much we can concretely contribute by giving back to a city, its people, and to humanity.

In spite of an increase in blood donations throughout Italy in the last few years, Milan is facing a critical situation, worsened by the restrictions put in place to fight Covid-19. DoctorsinItaly, in collaboration with AVIS (Association of Italian Volunteers for Blood) Milano, has organised the event #GiveBackToMilan, hosting a blood drive to let voluntary donors “give back” to their community.

I had a talk with Nadia Neytcheva (CEO and co-founder of DoctorsinItaly) and Federico Poggio (event manager) to gather some information on their startup and on the initiative they are promoting.

How would you describe DoctorsinItaly with three words?

International . Modern. Efficient.

You could be a traveller, an international student or an expatriate, DoctorsinItaly connects every non-Italian speaking patient with professional medical experts that will understand their needs.

What should we know about the startup?

This project started in Rome more than two years ago and now it has gained a strong presence throughout Italy. As a matter of fact, we recently opened two medical centres in Milan, which are also supported by Bocconi for Innovation.

Our main idea was that if you’re not Italian, it is very difficult to understand how the healthcare system works [FF4] and to ask for specific treatments. We wanted to create a network of qualified sources for medical doctors who speak English, selected through clearing rigorous interviews and meeting required standards. Be reassured that it is not easy to become a doctor at DoctorsinItaly; we go through a very thorough selection process.

Our network includes a variety of healthcare professionals, such as dentists, physiotherapists, mental health specialists, chiropractors, nutrition experts and many more. Lab tests and confidential STI screening services are also available by online booking.

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What is the upside to using DoctorsinItaly?

Beside finding English-speaking medical doctors, we make sure that MDs who cooperate with us have experience with international patients. This guarantees open-mindedness and an international approach.

Addressing blood donation, why should anyone donate?        

Every donor may find the most varied reasons in answering to this question: to help people, to feel better with yourself, to be an example for others. The thing is that, as a donor, you have blood, and you can give it away — you are not losing anything.

Moreover, standard blood donation is a very fast procedure: it takes around 10 to 15 minutes plus recovery time, which may vary from one person to another.

Moving on to the initiative, why should anyone who can #GiveBackToMilan? What’s the difference between this initiative and “standard” blood donation?

Themeaning of #GiveBackToMilan is to include in the blood drive international people that are not Italian but feel as though they belong to local communities and want to give back to a city that has provided them with so much. Donating Blood in Italy may be a hard task if people don’t speak Italian and, in the medical environment, it’s fundamental that people feel comfortable and that they are able to understand the donation process well.

If it’s my first time donating blood, what are your suggestions?

This initiative might be a good way to start donating in a time in which it is very much needed. The first blood donation is a very exciting experience in which you discover how easy it actually is to donate blood and to give back to others. We suggest everyone read our website, with all materials and guides, so as to know what to expect.

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Don’t feel bad if you are “postponed” as a donor, it’s quite common and if it happens it is done to protect the patients that are recipients of the blood.

But do not despair! You can always help through word of mouth, by sharing this initiative with friends, acquaintances and on social media (check out our Instagram filter!).

Any recommendations to anyone who would like to participate in this initiative?

The initiative will be held in English and there is going to be multilingual support on site, as well as trained medical staff, so it’s completely safe. Remember that it is by appointment only — book on time and come to donate!

Moreover, read carefully the eligibility criteria, and ensure you have all the documents you need — you can find all of this and much more both on AVIS’ website and on ours.

Pondering on the talk I had with Nadia and Federico, I was able to draw some food for thought; blood donations make you realise how, in the end, we are all the same and how we can all make a difference. Take a few moments to reflect on how lucky most of us are: healthy, strong, and able to make a gesture that can really change someone’s life.

In donating blood – an action so simple, yet so meaningful – we can find all of humanity’s solidarity and generosity, a sense of fulfilment in giving back to someone else. Give back to Milan, give back to someone.

Book your appointment now on https://www.doctorsinitaly.com/givebacktomilan. Take a day off and see how much you can concretely do.

The event will take place on Monday, May 3rd, from 8 AM to 12:30 PM, in Via Salvio Giuliano 5/3 (DoctorsinItaly Washington Medical Center – link to Washington Medical Centre).

Donation will take place in complete safety.

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Just an average guy that read “On the road” a bit too soon and was led to tending to fall in love too much with too many things. In Bocconi I am studying International Politics and Government.

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