Having the strong belief that prevention is better than cure and that everyone should have access to public health care, “Médecins du Monde”, with the support of bwin, delivered humanitarian missions in remote regions of Greece.
The first and foremost mission of “Médecins du Monde” is to provide medical care services. Since its inception, “Médecins du Monde” developed several related programs both in Greece and abroad. The goal is to provide those services to people who don’t have easy access to health care and medical services. One of the programs implemented in Greece deals with this problem in remote areas of the country. Bwin’s vision is in line with this program and decided to help, so that these people don’t feel forgotten.
Agios Efstratios (March 2019), Psara (September 2019), Fournoi Korseon (October 2019), Kastellorizo (November 2019), Prespes (September 2020) and Kimi in Rhodope (October 2020) were the areas in which teams of “Médecins du Monde” provided free of charge health care services to the residents, with the support of bwin.
At times, the weather wasn’t an ally as strong winds caused problems in reaching some of the most distant Greek islands and heavy rain or snow became obstacles in reaching the mainland areas. Places that locals call “home”, but often lack the infrastructure and self-evident things, which appear to be “obvious” for most of us, such as health services.
Each mission lasted an average of 4-5 days, depending on weather conditions and available means of travel, and 8-10 people participated each time. In total, more than 800 people benefited from this program. The humanitarian missions included services of specialist Pediatricians, Pathologists, Cardiologists, Dentists as well as a modern mobile ophthalmology unit, accompanied by an Ophthalmologist, alongside 2 or 3 nurses.
It is worth noting that according to a 2017 survey, Greece spends around 1650 euros per capita in public health care, while the EU average is just under 3000 euros. The amount corresponds to 8.4% of the country’s GDP and since 2009 only 59% of expenses for health services are covered by the State, as a result of reductions in public funding. That means that initiatives such as those of “Médecins du Monde” and bwin are extremely important in a society which is trying to recover after the great fiscal crisis.
The areas were selected based on their size, distance from health services structures, accessibility, and population. They are mainly inhabited by pensioners, who either cannot or don’t want to go to the nearest hospitals for regular examinations. At the same time, the presence or lack of the necessary personnel in the health services structures, if any, was taken into consideration. The needs of the residents were documented and the missions were organized after communication with the Ministry of Health and the local Municipalities.