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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Distinguished Group of British Lawmakers and Union Representatives visit MCCH

Helliniko 24 April 2013
A Distinguished Group of British Lawmakers and Union Representatives visit MCCH
On 23 April 2013 MCCH was visited by representatives of the Greece Solidarity Campaign.  The visitors included, journalists, British MP Andrew Love and Pilgrim Tucker, representative of the powerful Unite Union which represents the larger trade unions in the UK (public workers, nurses, firelighters etc.), representing more than four million workers.  The group was led by Isidoros Diakidis, member of the Haringey Council of London.
The visit was to explore Greece’s volunteer community clinics, understand how they have organized themselves, operate, and how they obtain the supplies and medications necessary for their operation.  They also wanted to see if these clinics are able to provide more advanced care for the uninsured, unemployed and those without resources – the patients of the volunteer community clinics.
Our visitors were frankly shocked to learn about the lack of health care for the unemployed and uninsured - especially the lack of coverage for expectant mothers, surgery etc. in the public hospitals.  In the UK all are covered by the National Health Service.  They also were impressed by the rapid increase of patient visits to MCCH in the last four months.
Our visitors informed us that they came to Athens with the aim to see for themselves how the Greek Public Health Service has gone wrong.  And of course, they want to contribute and assist the volunteer clinics under their campaign “Medical Aid Greece”.
We deeply thank our visitors for their interest and their expressions of solidarity.  And even more, we thank them for taking back to the UK the story of the plight of the public health system in Greece.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Our needs (list updated for April)

Urgent needs:

Our patients need the below listed medicines that we do not have at our disposal:

Donarot sachets
Nexium 20mg
Zoloft 100mg
Champix tab
Zyprexa velotab 10mg
Elidel creme Extavia  250ml
Lapenza 20mg
Losec 20mg
Salospir 160mg
Lepur 20mg & 40mg
Zometa 4mg
Tevagrastim 300mg/05 ml
Neupro TTS (adhesive) 6mg
Vascase Plus Tabl.Neupro Tts 6mg/24h
Lataz coll Xalatan coll
Xalacom coll
Lipitor 10mg, 20mg & 40mg
Spiriva Respimat
Sumbicort Turbuhaler 160mg
Diovan 40 mg
Spiriva Caps
Procoralan 5mg & 7.5mg
Prerolon 5mg
Myfortic 180 mg or Cellcept 500 mg
Prerolon 5mg
Avastin 100mg & 400mg
Etoposide 100mg
Ινσουλίνη Humalog mix 25
Symbicort Turbuhaler 160mg
Spiriva Respimat
Xanax 0.25
Xanax 0.50
Klaricid susp. 125mg / 5ml  & 250mg / 5ml
Farmorubicin 50mg
Seretide diskus 50+500 mcg
Imigran  50
Imigran 100
Relpax   40
Duodart 0,5/0,4mg
Coveram /5/5 (2 boxes)
Risperdal Consta 37.5 mg (injection)
Vascace Plus
Vanoruton 1000 mg
Dermestril TTS  25MCG (Estradiol hemihydrate)
Myfortic 360 mg
Myfortic 0.5mg & Advagraf 1 mg
Requip 0.25mg
Risperdal 4mg
Evangio 10mg
Bicalutamide 50mg
Dexarhina spray
Eucreas (50mg/850mg & 50mg/1000mg)
Ritalin 10mg ή Concerta
Iscover 300 mg
Mixtard 30
Humalog Kwik Pen Mix50
tb Thyro 4 0.1
Singulair 4 mg, 5 mg
Flixotide 50

Coronary Medications

ATORCHOL, LIPIGAN, BIGER) 10 mg / 20 mg / 40 mg

160/12.5 mg
320/25 mg

10+10 mg
10+20 mg
10+40 mg

5/160/25 mg
10/160/12.5 mg
10/160/25 mg
10/320/25 mg

10 mg
20 mg
40 mg 

For migranes

Relpax 40mg

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A visit by a member of the Swiss Parliament, Liliane Maury Pasquier to MCCH

Helliniko 15 April 2013
A visit by a member of the Swiss Parliament, Liliane Maury Pasquier to MCCH

On 13 April, 2013, the volunteers at MCCH were visited at the clinic by the president of the Parliamentary Committee of Social Welfare and Health of the council of Europe.  Liliane Maury Pasquier, a Swiss MP of the Socialists, visited Greece for two days in connection with the preparation of a presentation by the French Christian-Democrat MP Jean Louis Lauren concerning “Fair and Equal Access to Health Care” in Europe.  Mrs. Pasquier was given a guided tour and witnessed with her own eyes, the structure and functioning of the clinic.

We at MCCH expressed our opinions and conveyed the facts which reflect the situation that exists for all those excluded from the Greek Public Health Care system - the jobless and the uninsured.  We pointed out how long term lack of health care (i.e. in cancer patients) has led to a rapid deterioration of their situation made more difficult by failing to find the necessary drugs.  Finally we pointed out the desperation of mothers forced to give birth alone with no medical coverage.

Mrs. Pasquier has witnessed “another world” and we believe that she will communicate what she has seen and heard at MCCH in her report to the Council of Europe.

We thank her profusely for visiting us – especially since we had not been on her itinerary.  For MCCH it was an important and significant meeting.

...it's time for the state to act now

Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko

With the cooperation and support of the municipality of Helliniko-Argyroupolis

Helliniko 10 April 2013

Press Release
Volunteers are increasing, but it is time for the state to act now

The greatness of humanity, dignity, mutual aid and support is evidenced daily in the actions of ordinary citizens - in contrast to the official state which has gone deaf these last years of the memorandum and its austerity.

So many independent groups pop up all the time to answer some of the needs of those without shelter or means.  Community clinics and pharmacies appear and multiply in an effort to fill the immense void created by the official state and an effort to support public health – which the state has neglected.

Three years ago, unemployed and uninsured citizens ceased to have a place in the National Public Health System.  Accounting has taken over (income, expenses) without centering the whole thing around the human individual.  It’s now an inhuman National Health System that runs a country where unemployment will likely reach 30% and a country which has been flooded by about a million uninsured immigrants.  So a third of the population is medically totally unprotected.  This system condemns to death those who have serious illnesses but no means to pay; it endangers all public health in the country – a country where a pregnant woman cannot afford a hospital at which to give birth and avoid the street.

Community Clinics and pharmacies are doing their utmost to plug the hole the state has left.  But if they cannot fully replace the state in providing primary health care, they most certainly cannot tackle more advanced care which necessitates hospitalization and surgery.

At this moment, there are ten patients in this one clinic who are in need of immediate hospitalization.  There are also pregnant women who can not afford expenses of a birth at a maternity hospital.  We are desperately trying to cope with an impossible situation.

·     We DEMAND THAT PUBLIC HOPSITAL AND MATERNITY HOSPITALS OPEN THEIR DOORS to the unemployed and uninsured who cannot afford to pay. We believe in doing our best to protect the health of all individuals – in fact to protect public health itself.
·     The Ministry of Health has to put into effect the program it proposed three months ago regarding uninsured patients and to stop “looking on” at what happens to these people.
·     We must all work together stop the annihilation of these vulnerable poor before it becomes a GENOCIDE

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The proposal of the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko for the uninsured citizens

The text below was prepared by Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko in December 2012 and is our entire proposal pertaining to uninsured patients.  We call upon all community clinics in Greece and all citizens to support it.



A national public health system which uses insurance as the only criterion for a patient to be served is, by definition, a failure.  It is inhuman in a country where unemployment is close to 30% and where undocumented immigrants number about one million.  A health system which serves only the insured citizens and leaves about 1/3 of its people without care gravely endangers public health.

Five years ago, when there were far fewer unemployed and almost everyone was insured, Greece spent more money on private medical care than any other country with a national health system.

Today, the economic crisis has up-rooted everything; high unemployment, illegal labour practices and severe under-employment are rampant. We believe that to achieve the goal of a universal access to public health (a principle which is at the very heart of the Greece’s NHS), the Greek National Health Service requires radical change in how it is financed, and also in how citizens have access to it.  These changes must be interlinked with new policies concerning labour, taxes and immigration.  It is obvious that until such changes are firmly established, that more than one third of the population cannot wait to have access to the health system.

The lack of a viable public health policy for the uninsured creates serious, irreversible health issues in patients with devastating diseases, exposes the entire population of the country and its visitors to infectious and contagious diseases and invalidates the constitutionally established right of equal access to health care.

But most importantly it promotes a negative reality in our society, a reality not consistent with the principles and values of humanity, culture, dignity, justice, equality and the principles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and children's rights.

The economic policy of the last few years has led to continued economic weakness and a critical mass of unemployed.  Thousands of patients are unemployed and find it impossible to pay private and business debts or pay into insurance funds.  The result is that this "epidemic" of uninsured people is reaching uncontrollable and dangerous dimensions.

The Community Clinics were born from the National Health System’s exclusion of the uninsured, unemployed and homeless.  The Community Clinics can not nor should they try to completely fill in the increasingly enormous and dangerous chasm in public health.  On the other hand, we are not about to abandon our patients; we will not give up on a third of the population.  

The Community Clinics serve patients with chronic health problems who have no access to either the public or private health system.  We are primary care facilities, providing health care and medicines to our patients.  We work together with hospitals, private clinics and laboratories in the community.  

The clinics also carry out drug collection drives, collecting donated drugs, recording and categorizing them, and then making them available to the other community clinics and hospitals.  The medicines are valued and made available to the hospitals after being accepted by the hospital’s governing board.  The commercial value of medicines and materials made available to the hospitals averages, and sometimes exceeds 80,000 euros in a small county.

These volunteer clinics are providing primary care and supporting an ever-increasing tide of uninsured adults and children.  Over the last two years the numbers of people resorting to the clinics has increased so drastically that the clinics are hard-pressed to cope.  The health of the individual and public health is severely threatened.

Given the above, we propose the following:

• Complete hospital coverage of the uninsured, in emergency situations and in the Emergency Department, for the entire length of the hospital stay and, if needed, clinical exams inside and away from the hospital.  These services, while theoretically available under the law, are not provided in practice.    

• Free hospitalization for emergency surgery and stays in the Intensive Care Unit

• Complete maternity coverage including medicines, pre natal monitoring, coverage of the birth, whether caesarean or normal, and hospitalization in the neo-natal unit, as required

• Complete care, for children and minors, including required laboratory testing and medications.

• A free and complete program of vaccinations to be the responsibility of the Center of Disease Control and Prevention of the Greek Ministry of Health.

• Free hospitalization and medication for both inpatient and outpatient treatment for those suffering from infectious and contagious diseases.

• Deletion of past debts of individuals to insurance funds, the continuation of hospitalization coverage during the whole period of unemployment or at least for a period of three years.  The unemployed are to be issued with a special health book.  Hospitals should provide pharmaceutical coverage of beneficiaries from their pharmacies as well as clinical exams.  

• Free access to the medical outpatient clinic of the hospital for the chronically ill from severe and life-threatening diseases conditions.  These would include heart disease, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, malignancy, chronic renal failure, haemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis, psychosis, Alzheimer’s, genetic diseases, and those suffering cognitive and motor deprivation.  Chemotherapy should be offered to cancer patients without charge.  

• A brochure should be made available in all hospitals, fully describing the conditions attached to the special health booklet. 

We reiterate a long-standing demand for a radical reorganization of the Greek National Health Service.  Currently, in this time of cutbacks, neither our insured fellow citizens nor the uninsured, are receiving anything close to adequate health care.

The volunteer Community Clinics will continue to provide primary health care and to collect medications and materials for the clinics and hospitals.  In cases where a local community clinic receives financial support from the local government or authority, there will be a reckoning at the end of the year of the amount remaining at the hospital of that community available for the uninsured.

The Community Clinics believe that individual and public health is a responsibility of the state and should not be left to volunteers. The major investment of a state is its people. They are the capital. A population in good health is the interest and bond yields.  When those people can maintain a decent life, have access to health and education, then the foundations are laid for development, self-sufficiency, and independence and corruption will be discouraged.

Volunteer Community Clinics

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helleniko in Paris - 23/3/2013

Helliniko 02 April 2013

Press Release
MCCH in Paris – invited to “Solidarité franco- grecque pour la Santé

A particularly important initiative highlighting the major theme of public health in Greece today and the role taken on by doctors and volunteers in community clinics and other initiatives of community support took place recently in France.
The event was organized by the Collectif: Solidarité franco- grecque pour la Santé, (http://solidaritefrancogrecque.wordpress.com) a group founded by Greeks who live in Paris, but whose membership is now largely French.  It took place in Paris on 23 March 2013 with an impressive gathering of people from France and other European countries, featured representatives of trade union movements. 
There was a particularly strong presence from the Greek community in Paris.  They discussed the current situation and explored ways of supporting and showing solidarity with the health sector.
The Metropolitan Community Clinic of Helliniko (MCCH) was represented by Dr. George Vichas who elaborated on the purpose and the role of the voluntary community clinics.  A barrage of questions from the attendees followed, especially on what immediate actions could be organized from abroad to support Greece. 
Intense debate and fruitful discussions followed.  At the end of the workshop it was decided to organise JOINT ACTIONS, with the goal of resisting and reversing the austerity policies that bring misery to the people throughout Europe.  It seems that the problems are increasing to epidemic proportions.
Even in France the public health system is in the crosshairs of the Government with the goal of privatizing the system.  Recently obstetric clinics have been closed, clinics and hospitals have been merged and there are deficiencies in key specialties (cardiologists, neurologists, etc) in the major hospitals of Paris.
On the day the event was held, a protest was staged in Normandy in reaction to the closing of the public obstetric clinic.  At the protest, demonstrators read a resolution of support from MCCH
In this spirit, we will attend a conference entitled "AN ALTERNATIVE FOR EUROPE" which will take place in Athens on 7 to 9 June 2013.  The purpose is to exchange ideas and explore how we can protect basic human rights of health for all.  One of the central themes of this conference will be the inalienable right of all to have equal access to health services.

Click above to see a video which was presented at the Alter conference of 23 March (in Greek with French subtitles):


Source of photos and video:  http://solidaritefrancogrecque.wordpress.com/

Press Release 28/3/2013

Helliniko 28/03/2013
Press Release

The volunteers of the Metropolitan Community Clinic of Helliniko (MCCH) persevere in their effort to help those in need and who have been neglected by our national systems of health and welfare.  They see, daily, at close quarters, tragic situations that people find themselves in after a five year economic crisis – even when they are not to blame themselves for being unemployed or uninsured.
As often as we can, we go beyond helping those who are in obvious need, and MCCH is often there to support public institutions and public agencies.  And that is how on the 20th of March volunteers from our clinic set off for the women’s prison in Eleona, Thebes and delivered twenty-eight boxes containing a variety of items – food supplements, iron, calcium, magnesium etc., as well as clothing for the prisoners.  At the same time, our volunteers came to an understanding with the social worker there to be in touch and offered further help whenever needed – such as additional pharmaceutical items for the poorer inmates.