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Sunday, November 24, 2013

News on the Solidarity Caravan in Italy

Press Release
News on the Solidarity Caravan in Italy


On the 22nd of October, The Solidarity Caravan started from  Verona. (see http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/2013/10/a-caravan-of-solidarity-for-mcch-in.html )

On Monday, 11 November, the Caravan arrived in Florence.  Our Italian friends, together with Greek students organized a number of events.  Here are the pictures.


Dinner at CPA-FiSud and collection of funds and medicines to support the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko.


Banners and posters at Careggi Hospital in Florence.


Photography exhibit and pavilion at the Entrance to the Careggi Hospital to inform patients, doctors and visitors of the effects of austerity policies when applied to the health budget in Greece and Italy.


The Solidarity Caravan was received in Florence by an assembly of citizens.  Rosa Calderazzi (a representative of the organization Donne nella Crisi, which organized the caravan) and Ioanna Lymperopoulou (representative of MCCH) spoke to an open assembly.  Dr. George Vichas was able to make a presentation via Skype.  A discussion followed.



Ioanna Lymperopoulou, of MCCH describes the clinic and its contribution to the community.


“Solidarity with those who struggle for a better future – that’s the message that we want to send to the doctors and volunteers who contribute their time and effort to the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko,” say our friends from Florence.


The Caravan has travelled throughout Italy.  Below are all the stops on the Caravan’s schedule.  It was a tremendous effort

22/10 VERONA
25/10 BRESCIA and ROVATO
26-27/10 RHO and CORNAREDO
28/10 MILANO
29/10 LODI
5/11 BOLOGNA
6/11 ROMA
7/11 SALERNO
8/11 COSENZA and VIBO
9/11 BARI
10/11 LECCE
11/11 FIRENZE
12/11 LIVORNO
13/11 MANTOVA
14/11 TORINO
15/11 COMO
20/11 PADOVA



METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY-FRIDAY 10:00-14:00) (MONDAY 17:00-20:00) 
(TUESDAY 14:00-20:00) (WEDNESDAY 16:00-20:00) (THURSDAY 14:00-20:00)
(FRIDAY 14:00-19:00) (SATURDAY 10:00-14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece 
Blog http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com

…as from today we are all Greeks


Press Release
“…as from today we are all Greeks

On Tuesday, 5 November 2013 the cardiologist Dr. George Vichas, representing MCCH was officially invited to participate in the conference “Responding Together” organized by the Council of Europe jointly with the European Union.  Dr. Vichas participated in a workshop “How to create incentives to avoid waste and promote a better use of resources.”  He answered numerous questions on the organization and operation of the Metropolitan Community Clinic, the plight of the uninsured and those cut off from public health and the impact on the health of patients excluded from the public health system in our country.

His description of the situation in Greece today included the difficulty that even the insured experienced to afford a doctor or the medicines prescribed.  Often the medications are not available.  Dr. Vichas mentioned pregnant women who couldn’t find a hospital bed to give birth and who had received little or no pre-natal care.  He described cancer patients losing time in getting treatment and the often tragic result of uninsured patients who require hospitalization and advanced care.

He showed clearly and made the audience realize that the policies that are being followed at present are criminal and there are people who will one day have to answer for them.  It is not a time for complacency for European citizens who must realize by now that such policies are being deployed in many European countries.

Finally Dr. Vichas, one of the founders of MCCH, pointed out what for thousands of years Greeks have known; that when there is no political will to abolish a policy that is really criminal, we the people abolish it ourselves and take action to clearly show that we reject such a law.  He then stated “be sure that is what we do today” in doing our utmost to help those who are cut off from the public and national health systems.”

The reaction at the meeting was immediate.  There was a lot of interest and even anger.  Finally a lawyer from the European court wanted urgently to take the Greek case to the court.  But the president of the meeting selected only three of the many examples that had been voiced by Dr. Vichas to be studied at the higher levels of the European Committee and the European Parliament.


The most touching moment for our doctor was when, at the end of the meeting, he was surrounded by the members who approached him and said to him, with evident emotion, “As from today, we are all Greeks”



METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY-FRIDAY 10:00-14:00) (MONDAY 17:00-20:00) 
(TUESDAY 14:00-20:00) (WEDNESDAY 16:00-20:00) (THURSDAY 14:00-20:00)
(FRIDAY 14:00-19:00) (SATURDAY 10:00-14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece 
Blog 
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Compelling Evidence on Uninsured Cancer Patients


Press Release
Compelling Evidence on Uninsured Cancer Patients

The 126 cancer patients treated by The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko provide compelling evidence of the grim reality faced by the uninsured cancer sufferer. These patients were referred to Sotiria Hospital for chemotherapy. With two years of experience in treating cancer patients, the statistics gathered were presented at an oncology conference on 17 November in Athens.

Sixty percent of these patients came to MCCH in the third, fourth and even fifth month after the initial diagnosis. In all these cases, the tumours had grown or spread. In almost all of the cases, exams, including CT scans had to be done from the beginning even though in many cases, the cancer was quite advanced.

The disastrous policies coming from the Ministry of Health have resulted in what to amounts to the “murder” of ten of our patients, including mothers who have left orphaned children. These patients, if they had received treatment earlier, needn’t have died.

We need to shout out, with one united voice – human life is more than numbers and money.


Sign our petition: 

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_with_the_criminal_budget_cuts_to_Greeces_Public_Healthcare_System_1/



METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY-FRIDAY 10:00-14:00) (MONDAY 17:00-20:00) 
(TUESDAY 14:00-20:00) (WEDNESDAY 16:00-20:00) (THURSDAY 14:00-20:00)
(FRIDAY 14:00-19:00) (SATURDAY 10:00-14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece 
Blog 
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com


Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Greek Public Health System is dismantled



PRESS RELEASE
The Greek Public Health System is dismantled

At The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko we see, on a daily basis, the grim results of destructive policies to the public health system.  These policies have been years in the making and as a result, more and more people have been cut off from public heath.  The chronically ill without access to medical treatment, pregnant women without pre-natal care or a safe place to give birth, malnourished infants, as parents cut back on baby formula, unvaccinated children, carriers of serious diseases without medication, cancer patients with tumours neglected.  Many serious diseases, including cancer, have been neglected for too long.  And even insured patients often find no relief since certain drugs have become alarmingly scarce.

The last straw is that more and more people are without electricity or water because they cannot pay their bills.  In one case an unemployed person couldn’t afford the bus fare of €1.20 and they were finally fined €720 (no, that was not a typographical error).

These are people who have been working and paying into social insurance funds all their lives, but have lost it all now that they have become unemployed and have subsequently lost their public health insurance as well.  They are now literally at God’s mercy. 

We are haunted, daily, at our clinic by such hardships of our patients.  We cannot but be staggered with emotion and anger as we try to face all these individual tragedies.  And just as the voluntary solidarity clinics are all calling for help and gathering medications – sometimes pill by pill – to save lives, the Ministry of Health announces that for a fee of €25, patients will be admitted to a public hospital.  They are condensing and reducing the number of available beds as well as hospital staff.  They are doing away with the services of the four pharmacies for the uninsured run by EOPPY (The Greek Organization for Public Health) and they are closing ALL the mental health faculties by calling on family members to take the patients back into the home.  At the same time, cots have re-appeared in hospital halls, creating pathetic scenes.  The plan for the fate of primary health care system – if it exists at all – is unknown and lost in endless debates about doing away totally with EOPPY.

The “clear cut” directions that had been announced by the Minister of Health in the summer to deal with the serous problem of uninsured patients in public hospital are anything but practically feasible and the whole problem is now labelled as “logistical”.  That means that if the patient cannot pay, the entire matter will go to the tax office with the well known consequences of all debts  

The reality is that around half of the Greek population no longer has access to the public health system.  According to official records, presented by the president of EOPPY, Mr. Kontou there are 3,000,000 uninsured citizens.  Another 3,300,000 are insured, but among them are many who have closed shops, or those who are employed, but have no health insurance rights.  The Minister of Health himself has publicly stated that “we can no longer ensure the access of all citizens to public health.”  In other words, we’re giving priority to paying our debts and not to public health or the health of the individual - individuals who are facing the worst economic decade since the 1930’s.  The severely wrong political choices made by successive governments over the last several years have gotten us to this point; it is the simple citizens that now have to pay the bill.

The Minister of Health and the government present us with the plight of our country which is getting steadily worse, like some sort of exaggerated disaster movie. And they can do nothing for public health other than throwing a few crumbs.

These political choices are not a matter of “logistics”, they mean those sick and shut out of the system are dying in their thousands.  It is deeply wrong.




Here is a list of sources for all the facts mentioned above.  They are in the Greek language, but we translate the titles for you here, along with the web address:

Victims of the humanitarian crisis – the unemployed, uninsured women and motherhood

The country is open to the risk of losing primary health care because of mobility
http://www.ygeia360.gr/el/news/item/6232-anoixtos-kindynos-na-meinei-h-xwra-proswrina-xwris-prwtobathmia-frontida-logw-kinhtikothtas

Express Exit for the Mentally Ill
http://iatroi.eu/2013/11/03/e%CE%BE%CF%89%CF%83%CE%B7-%CE%B5%CE%BE%CF%80%CF%81%CE%AD%CF%82-%CF%83%CE%B5-%CF%88%CF%85%CF%87%CE%B9%CE%BA%CE%AC-%CF%80%CE%AC%CF%83%CF%87%CE%BF%CE%BD%CF%84%CE%B5%CF%82/

Prosecution for those who owe more than 5,000 euro to the public coffers”
http://www.ethnos.gr/article.asp?catid=22770&subid=2&pubid=63788839

Repeal of the childbirth allowance, reduction of physiotherapy, reduction of supplement for ety glasses and reduction of personnel in EOPPY 
http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.ellada&id=346846

Zero-hour for Evangelismos Hospitaltemporary cots choke hospital halls” (photo-documentary)
http://www.iatropedia.gr/articles/read/5366

“More than 3,000,000 Greeks are uninsured”
http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.article&id=387049

Antonis: we cannot ensure access of all to the public health system, as we would like to do”
http://www.koutipandoras.gr/46159/%CE%AC%CE%B4%CF%89%CE%BD%CE%B9%CF%82-%CE%B4%CE%B5%CE%BD-%CE%BC%CF%80%CE%BF%CF%81%CE%BF%CF%8D%CE%BD-%CF%8C%CE%BB%CE%BF%CE%B9-%CE%BD%CE%B1-%CE%AD%CF%87%CE%BF%CF%85%CE%BD-%CF%80%CF%81%CF%8C%CF%83%CE%B2.html

Circular issued by the Health Ministry regarding severely ill uninsured patients”
http://static.diavgeia.gov.gr/doc/%CE%92%CE%9B4%CE%9C%CE%98-2%CE%9F%CE%9B

“The transport services show a relentless face”

“Appeal from the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helleniko”
http://mki-ellinikou.blogspot.gr/2013/05/blog-post_30.html

“Appeal for Patients of Sotiria Hospital”
http://mki-ellinikou.blogspot.gr/2013/04/blog-post_25.html

The sources listed below are from our blog, which you will find in the English language:

“Áre we with the Darkness or the Light”
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/2013/09/are-we-with-darkness-or-light.html 

Urgent Appeal for a Cancer Patient to the Ministry of Health”
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/2013/08/urgent-appeal-to-laiko-hospital-and.html

“Representative of the Ministry of Health Revealed on the BBC”
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/2013/08/the-collapse-of-public-health-system-in.html

“The Odyssey of the Indigent and Uninsured Patient”
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/2013/06/the-odyssey-of-uninsured-and-indigent.html

“Family of Six on the Edge of Desperation”
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/2013/03/a-family-of-six-on-edge-of-desperation.html



METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO

  Working Hours
(MONDAY-FRIDAY 10:00-14:00) (MONDAY 17:00-20:00) 
(TUESDAY 14:00-20:00) (WEDNESDAY 16:00-20:00) (THURSDAY 14:00-20:00)
(FRIDAY 14:00-19:00) (SATURDAY 10:00-14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER: +30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece
Blog
http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Raids Have Become the Fashion


PRESS RELEASE
Raids Have Become the Fashion

Police raids seem to have become fashionable. How else can one explain the inspiration of the authorities to enforce the “law”. The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko and Doctors of the World, both voluntary organizations, were raided two weeks ago with nothing was found out of order. On 7 November the authorities raided the headquarters of ERT. The state broadcaster was shut down last June by the government and employees have occupied the Agia Paraskevi headquarters since then.

We stand by the suffering workers at ERT, as we stand next to each employee for whom the political policies of the last three years have made life much more difficult. The social safety net has gaping holes. As these same inhuman polices continue, we feel it is our duty to provide solidarity and support for the community, along with dozens of other volunteer organizations that have been founded in the last few years.


We hope that the raid on ERT will be the last. Otherwise, if those that govern continue to sow the wind, they may find that they reap a tornado. 



METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLENIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY-FRIDAY 10:00-14:00) (MONDAY 17:00-20:00) 
(TUESDAY 14:00-20:00) (WEDNESDAY 16:00-20:00) (THURSDAY 14:00-20:00)
(FRIDAY 14:00-19:00) (SATURDAY 10:00-14:00) 
CONTACT PHONE NUMBER+30 210 9631950 
ADDRESS: Inside the old American Military Base, 200m away from the Traffic Police of the Municipality of Helleniko, next to the Cultural Center of Helleniko
Post code TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece
 
Blog http://mkie-foreign.blogspot.gr/ Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Visit from a Delegation of the Global Trade Union Organization “Public Services International”


On Tuesday 5 November, we were visited by ten representatives of the global trade union organization “Public Services International (PSI).  They represent 20 million employees working in public service in 150 countries.  Their representatives toured the clinic and had the chance to talk with the volunteers and patients.  Two of our visitors have uploaded a record of their personal experiences of the visit on their website, together with photographs.



More information about PSI can be found on http://psi-can-greece.org   


The two articles written about the visit can be found at http://psi-can-greece.org/news/community-clinic-provides-solidarity-people-greece and the photos of the visit at  http://www.flickr.com/photos/53821442@N06/sets/72157637368669063