Founded in Milan, Italy in 1994, EMERGENCY NGO Onlus offers free, high-quality healthcare to victims of war, poverty and landmines. To date, the humanitarian organization has treated over 12 million patients, and currently operates in Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Italy, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Uganda, along with centers in Moldova assisting those fleeing the war in Ukraine, by providing human rights-based medical services, building hospitals and training staff. Its remit includes surgery, medicine and rehabilitation services, delivered to patients who may find themselves caught up in conflict and war or living in conditions of conflict and vulnerability. The organization’s statistics show that 90 percent of the victims in contemporary war are civilians, with one in three being children.
The NGO uses various technologies to provide its priceless services. “Communication must remain face-to-face. We operate in contexts where technology is not considered a fundamental thing, with personnel in the field who are not always familiar with the technology. For this reason, the human relationship must remain, with technology as a support tool,” says Rolando Bricchi, IT director of EMERGENCY NGO Onlus, relaying that technology is a vehicle for facilitating the essentially human nature of its activities.
Achieving improved outcomes worldwide
Until 2007, the organization’s medical activities primarily focused on treating people who had suffered an injury, often as a direct result of improperly cleared landmines. While patients would present at its clinics, in many cases, there was no further continuation of the patient relationship once the initial treatment had ended.
In 2007, EMERGENCY began opening medical centers of excellence, where there is often a need for patient follow-up. This might be evidenced in the case of a patient undergoing cardiac surgery, whereby after an operation, their care continues with other therapies or ongoing interventions. Working with VMware to introduce more advanced IT services inside these centers has enabled the organization to track patients on a longer-term basis, creating better health outcomes.
Organizational security driving individualized healthcare
How non-profit organizations such as EMERGENCY manage their resources is also a key driver in implementing new systems. Implementing VMware solutions has enabled the organization to deliver consistent operational support across its sites with a lean team of just seven individuals.
The need for transparency and security in the organization’s funding is also a key motivator in developing an upgraded endpoint security operation. It is vital that EMERGENCY can track each donation and how this is engaged. Were its donation portals to come under cyberattack, the organization would lose income. However, this threat is put into perspective by the potentially life-threatening consequences of an attack on one of the organization’s hospitals which—if hit by a ransomware attack—can quickly lose many of its essential operations. Upgraded endpoint security has been a significant factor in mitigating this risk and giving the team greater confidence, enabling them to focus on delivering excellent medical services.
EMERGENCY operations span multiple geographies and comprise around 2,500 staff, many of whom deal with highly confidential information. As with many businesses, the global COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the organization’s plans. Within two weeks, staff had to work and manage the organization remotely. This shift to remote work has added further complexity due to its large-scale operations. In that context, the decision by EMERGENCY to implement VMware Carbon Black Endpoint Advanced was the ideal way to facilitate this new way of working; as Bricchi explains, “Our previous, more traditional architecture did not give us any specific indicators of what was going on. From the very start, after installing VMware Carbon Black Endpoint Advanced, we can immediately trace issues and understand what was happening across our network. The added value was our learning from the endpoint tool, which has been priceless.”
With the support of VMware technologies, EMERGENCY is now empowered to continue its crucial work, delivering vital healthcare services to communities worldwide.