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This paper examines the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on non-governmental organisations’ (NGOs) provision of primary healthcare services and its utilisation by irregular migrants in Italy. Through 30 semi-structured qualitative interviews with key informants – NGO members and healthcare professionals – and migrants, the study highlights the critical role of NGOs in bridging healthcare gaps for irregular migrants, particularly during the pandemic. The study also identifies challenges irregular migrants face in accessing public healthcare in Italy, including bureaucratic barriers in obtaining special healthcare registration cards (STP and ENI codes). Policy implications include facilitating regularisation processes, increasing funding for public healthcare, and harmonising interpretations of norms governing healthcare access across regions. Networking among NGOs and associations is encouraged to enhance comprehensive support for irregular migrants. At the same time, information improvement is vital to mitigate disparities in healthcare access and utilisation among different regions and to empower migrants in seeking timely and relevant healthcare. Overall, the study contributes to understanding the dynamics between NGOs, irregular migrants, and healthcare services during crises, advocating for an inclusive healthcare system based on the human right to health.



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Covid-19, Healthcare, Irregular migration, Italy, NGOs