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Την Ελληνική μας σελίδα θα την βρείτε εδω http://www.mkiellinikou.org/ +++


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

We have a new webpage!





Our new English language web page is ready and can be accessed here http://www.mkiellinikou.org/en/

This blog will no longer be updated.  Please visit our new web page for new posts from us.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Solidarity standing against barbarism



Solidarity standing against barbarism

When we begun the effort to collect medicines for Gaza, along with Fair Planet who had the original idea, we could not imagine the gigantic and immediate response from people all over Greece (and not only, as we received drugs even from Turin, Italy!). This effort could not have reached the heights it did without substantial aid from Solidarity for All, Red FM, the Coordinating Committee of Social Clinics and Pharmacies in Attica and dozens of other solidarity collectives from Attica and throughout Greece, that really created a solidarity miracle.

Medicines were collected during two concerts that took place in Athens and dozens of other events all over Greece. We are only uploading a few pictures of some of them. The commitment, the efficient organization and the enthusiasm of the people who helped is really exemplary. It is also a good reason to be happy that our society, despite all this brutality imposed by the economic crisis during the past six years, still has many reserves of solidarity left, not only for our countrymen, but also for our suffering friends in Palestine.

Although the Clinic was scheduled to close for two weeks, a group of MKIE and Fair Planet volunteers and of fellow citizens who responded to the call for help, are working ceaselessly to check all the medications that are to be sent to Gaza. At the same time another group of our volunteers (MKIE) works inside our "closed" pharmacy so that large quantities of drugs that we have enough of, are given for the same purpose. It is a difficult and demanding job, but it is necessary and our volunteers do it with great joy and enthusiasm.

A long human chain across Greece collects, checks and prepares medicines, in order to send them to Gaza.

Once again thank you all for your love and your immediate response, that each time (!) far exceeds our expectations and gives us strength to continue with even bigger projects and goals. 

"Communication team of the Metropolitan Social Clinic at Elliniko" 

Important note: We apologize in advance in case we forgot to mention someone who has helped a lot with the whole effort, but there are so many collectives and individual citizens that have helped us, that we would have to devote several days to record each and every one.

MKIE volunteers inspect medicines
Medicines collected and sent to us by the Social Clinic in Korinthos
August 2014, MKIE volunteers work tirelessly inside the pharmacy inspecting medicines





Concert for the fired cleaning-ladies in Syntagma square, 28/07/2014

Medicines for Gaza collection point, during the concert for the fired cleaning-ladies in Syntagma square, 28/07/2014



Collected drugs in Elliniko Cultural Center near MKIE, where Fair Planet and MKIE volunteers as well as citizens that support us check the medicines and medical supplies destined for Gaza





METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (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, August 6, 2014

The Reality of Solidarity


Press Release

People who Help
The Reality of Solidarity

When there is an urgent need that drives us to request help, our hearts beat with every ticking second until someone responds.  For all our efforts to save someone in dire need, the organizing the calling, we can often do no more than tremble and wait for the outcome – it’s now out of our hands.  And yet we shouldn’t worry; there is always an answer.  The first day the responses might trickle in.  But usually they start to pour in enthusiastically.  “I can do this,” I can do that, does it help?”  People in governments and politics can often commit sins of greed and egotism.  But most people feel for those suffering and, if given a chance, help willingly. 

So once again, we shouldn’t have worried when we sent our last SOS.  The people heard and, yes, they cared once again.

On Tuesday, the 22nd of July we informed the people about a 15 year old girl who needed, immediately a BiBAP ST machine to aid her breathing.  She was hospitalized, and could not be released unless she had access to a ventilator.  The machine cost 3,400 euros and the girl and her mother had no way to purchase it.  For all it having happened before, we didn’t expect to get 23 responses from Greece and abroad offering sums of money almost immediately.  Several shops offered to lower the cost of the machine – even lower than half price.  Luckily a lady in Athens who had such a machine came forward.  A store specializing in these machines offered free life time maintenance. 

On Friday the 26th of July our volunteer collected the machine from the donor’s house and delivered it directly to the hospital where our young friend was hospitalized.  Monday the technician made the necessary checks on the machine, to make sure it worked properly.

We thank all those who pitched in to help and especially the woman who donated the machine, those who offered money for the purchase of a new machine, stores that reduced or eliminated their profit to help and of course the hundreds who simply told every friend they had about our appeal, helping to spread the word of this young woman in need. 

The smile on the faces of the mother and our young friend is the highest reward for all our unsung heroes.


Together, we can work miracles!!


METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (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

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Put a Stop to Our Inhuman Policies




Press Release
Put a Stop to Our Inhuman Policies

Even the most skeptical now accept that the economic crisis in Greece has seriously hindered the Greek Public Health System.  Quality of service has declined while cost, for the insured has increased month after month.  The uninsured have paid a higher cost – sometimes with their lives, lost due to the callous implementation of policies in the public health sector since 2010.

In the last few months we have seen a flood of circulars from the Greek Ministry of Health hailing tremendous changes in the public health system since the beginning of 2014.  These changes aim to “reform” the system but they raise doubt as to their purpose and even their objective.  Of course there have been some good reforms made as well, but these cannot be implemented because of systematic and criminal underfunding of the Greek public health system.

We will, as we always do, document and give evidence to the tragic effects of these policies in public health.  Many are deadly and criminal policies, dressed up to seem humanitarian reforms.

More specifically:

  1. Found on the web page of HDIKA (E-Government Social Insurance S.A.) (https://www.e-syntagografisi.gr/e-pre/faces/Login?_afrLoop=591787041964811&Adf-Window-Id=w0&_afrWindowMode=0&_adf.ctrl-state=p8bdtfbzl_3&_afrRedirect=591787151771022)

“We inform you that, in agreement with the government decision no. Y9/oik 53768 (Government Gazette B 1796/1-7-14) that from today 9/7/2014 each prescribing physician must control monthly minimum limits of prescriptions of the active substances of drugs which are not under protection status and it is not permissible to prescribe under a specific minimum percentage.  Also, per the decision of EOPYY (Greek National Organization of Health Service Providers) restrictions have been placed on the (SPC) age at diagnosis and prescribing specific medications, as per notifications.”  

What?? (The quote above comes out “gobbledygook” in both Greek and English)  Could the Ministry of Health please explain what is meant by that?  In other words, a doctor has to choose what to prescribe using the criteria of the age of the patient because EOPYY says so?

  1. The Greek Ministry of Health and EOPYY following minimum limits on prescribing generic medications put a cap on expenses on prescribed medicine, per doctor by specialty and location.  The risks associated with this policy could potentially be disastrous, especially for those with chronic diseases requiring monthly treatment. It’s a policy that can put lives in danger.  See more in the article “Risks from the Prescription Ceiling”  http://www.efsyn.gr/?p=217204 - (in Greek) and the article “Reactions AmeA to the Prescription Ceiling” (http://www.newsbeast.gr/greece/arthro/705713/addraseis-amea-gia-to-plafon-sti-sudagografisi) (in Greek)
3.      Vaccinations against meningitis B has not been approved by the National Committee for Vaccinations despite the medication being approved by the National Organization for Medicines (EOF).  Why? Because the president of this board has not yet been appointed.  The result?  A 50 year old woman in Ioanina has already died.  Read more in the article “The National Committee for Vaccinations Frozen”  http://www.imerisia.gr/article.asp?catid=27201&subid=2&pubid=113308852: (in Greek)
4.      The Greek government is leaving the 400,000 who are insured under OAEE (the public insurance carrier for independent workers, such as free-lance teachers, consultants, writers, visiting home service providers, etc), but who owe money to the insurer without medical coverage if their yearly income was 12,000 euro or more over the last three years.  That cut off is way too low.  In other words, the government reckons that a cancer patient, who owes payments to OAEE should be able to afford hyper-expensive cancer therapy, because his income has averaged 12,00 euro per year.  Read more in the article  “400,000 insured left without medical cover” http://www.enet.gr/?i=news.el.article&id=436332 -(in Greek)
5.      The government has taken a few positive steps, up to a point.  They have allowed uninsured citizens access to primary health care through public health clinics (PEDY), they have access to medication (with the same co-pay as insured patients) and, as far as secondary health care goes, cost-free access to public hospitals.  But even these positive steps are not as positive as they seem.  A huge wall of bureaucracy is the main hurdle.  Public hospitals have fewer people working and the Greek Public Health System is woefully underfunded.  When you take a second look at it nothing has really changed; the insured as well as the uninsured often go without the treatments the need because they cannot pay for their medicines.  The appropriate doctors they need are not to be found in PEDY because 50% of the doctors in the system have been fired.  Patients are also still excluded from the public hospitals, because the hospitals don’t have the funds.  For instance, KAT hospital had to stop surgery altogether.  At Areteo Hospital, which treats 1,000 cancer patients a year, the oncology department has only one employee while they are required by law to have at least three.
The Doctors’ Association of Athens recently announced results of their research, concluding that one in three citizens have no access to either doctors or medication.  Also, many pharmaceutical associations in Greece report that more and more citizens are unable to get the needed medications to continue their therapies.
Read more in the following articles – all in Greek:
“The Odyssey of the uninsured in hospitals”

“Surgery in Suspension at KAT Hospital

“People of Ko in the streets because of shortages in the Hospital of Kos
http://tvkosmos.gr/article.asp?newsid=2340809

“Doctors’ Association of Athens ‘One in three patients have limited access to doctors and medications’”

“Pharmaceutical Associations: The Government Impoverishes the Uninsured”

“Availability and Cancer Patients
  1. The Greek National Confederation of the Disabled has recently sent a emphatic letter to the Finance Minister Mr. Gikas Hardouvelis calling his attention to the extremely negative state that the disabled find themselves in due to the policies of the “memoranda”.  These policies affect the disabled and their families as well.  The confederation, in turn, also have economic problems since they must supplement the largest portion of the additional expenses needed. Of particular concern are those who suffer from severe disabilities, (cognitive disabilities such as down syndrome and autism, as well as cerebral palsy etc.) and their families who support them.  Read more in “The Dramatic State for the Disabled
    http://www.tovima.gr/society/article/?aid=613684  (in Greek)
  2. There are cancer patients who wait more than 6 months for their therapy – and at very probable risk of dying while waiting.  Read more in the article “Cancer Patients Wait Six Months for Treatment”
    http://www.koutipandoras.gr/article/116381/mehri-kai-exi-mines-perimenoyn-oi-karkinopatheis-sto-esy-gia-therapeia
  3. While all this is going on, the government suddenly finds sources of funding (both Greek and from Europe) to the tune of 40 million euro to fund various NGO’s, community clinics, municipal pharmacies and other parallel health providers while leaving the Greek public health system to crumble from underfunding .  Read more in our press release “The Social Trojan Horse is Here.  http///…….  This one is translated into English.
All of the above reflect the imminent disintegration of the public health system.  The victims of the peculiar conflict are many and unfortunately, it is not possible to list all of them since the destitute citizens suffer their destiny alone, unrecorded and unheard.  These inhuman measures taken by the governments during the last four years have led to a system where only the very strong can survive.
We, here are once more calling attention to this state of affairs, and will continue to do so wherever and however we can, both within Greece and abroad.  We are documenting these crimes and the data we collect will be used where it will have maximum effect in Greek as well as European courts.  We’ll keep you posted as to progress. 



METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (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, July 19, 2014

Has a Solution Arrived for the Uninsured?

"The exclusion of the uninsured from the public hospitals, kills" reads the banner

Press Release
Has a Solution Arrived for the Uninsured?

At last, after six years of economic austerity and four years of policies of the “memorandum” which has left the uninsured increasing excluded from the Greek public health system, it looks as if the government may be considering carrying out their constitutional obligations.  Could it be that the timing for this decision is connected with the soon-to-be-released tranche of funds to the country?  Another thing worth pondering is the persistence of some (journalists and politicians) in repeating that assistance for the uninsured is an obligation under the memorandum agreement.  This same Greek government together with the “Troika” decreed austerity measures in May 2010 without any planning or study as to what the results would have on society.  Now with new regulations enacted (Government Gazette 1465 of 05/06/2014 and 1753 of 28/06/2014) they hope to put out the fires that they ignited.

Specifically, under GG1465, uninsured Greeks and non-Greeks legally residing in the country will have hospital care without cost.  We certainly consider this a step in the right direction.  The main obstacle to this is the already dramatically reduced budgets for Greek public hospitals, which will be asked to cover the costs of the extended care.  We have seen a lot of cases of INSURED, but indigent patients who cannot find the medications needed for treatment and troll from hospital to hospital to try and locate them.  Recently, KAT hospital, one of the largest in the greater Athens area, announced it would stop performing surgery, because they don’t have the budget to cover the expenses involved.  These are problems that need SOLUTIONS.  We reckon that the three-member committee that will be appointed to look into these issues, will have a huge job.  Official sources number uninsured citizens at 3,000,000.  How can they be assisted without serious problems and huge delays?

Government Gazette 1753 of 28/06/2014 covers pharmaceutical needs of uninsured Greeks and foreigners legally resident in Greece who can pay the same contribution as those insured.  Expensive medications (and only expensive medications) will be provided without cost, which we feel is a positive step.

The thing that we wonder about here – and this comes from long experience - is that many of the long term unemployed will find it impossible to contribute in any way to payments.  Indeed, with the last modifications to regulations, the Greek Health Ministry increased the co-pays, which creates problems for many of the low-income insured.  Unfortunately, we have many examples of insured citizens who don’t have the means to pay into insurance plans.  So we have to find a mechanism under which those who cannot pay can at least have access to their medication.

But at any rate, with the regulations cited above, along with the ability of public health clinics to admit uninsured patients, at least some uninsured are coming back in the Greek public health system.  Those needs that are not covered are, specifically:

1)      There is a cap of 340 million Euros for medication for all uninsured.  If more is needed, what happens?  
2)      There is no mention in either of the government gazette entries of lab tests, blood tests, MRI, X-Rays etc. for outpatients visiting public health clinics and not admitted to hospital.  What happens in these cases?
3)      Immigrants who are not legally documented where do they go?  Without any recourse to health care, they could be a public health bomb waiting to explode.  What do they do?  A solution should be found for them, perhaps utilizing funds from the EU.
The measures enacted for the uninsured are, without question, a step in the right direction but fall short of full and free access to the Greek public health system.  The big challenge for the Greek government is to focus on proper funding and staffing of the public health system, putting a stop to “creative accounting” practices, and to put a halt to the degradation of the health services while managing funds rationally.  And to do this without social/solidarity clinics, NGO’s funded by the European Union through the National Strategic Reference Framework.  These funds could go directly to strengthen the Greek public health system and cover all the needs of the uninsured.

The Greek public health service is opening up, at least partially, to the uninsured.  They can now access primary care (through the system’s public health clinics) and secondary level care through access to public hospitals and at least some access to medications.  This has been a partial vindication of the gargantuan struggle undertaken by the volunteer community clinics and pharmacies from all over Greece – a struggle lasting three years, constantly pressuring for policies to make access to public health more inclusive rather than exclusive.  The volunteers of the various social solidarity clinics feel we were able to at least partially reverse some of the disastrous policies enacted during the economic crisis. 

The pressure will continue.  We have never been afraid to “speak truth to power.”  Our goal is to see a Greek public health system that is open to all including the most vulnerable groups.  We want to correct the wrongs that lead to an impoverished society. 


Below is a spot from the German “Spiegel TV” which discusses the policies of the past 4 years and shows MCCH.  It is in German with Greek subtitles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYzRGpZgNeE








METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (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

Another Donation from Australia




Press Release
Another Donation from Australia

It is always pleasing when people are good enough to volunteer much needed medicines to us, especially when such a donation comes from a compatriot living in far-off Australia.  On the 27th of June we received a great deal of medicines from this individual and all we can say is that we thank him profusely from the bottom of our hearts.  It is really significant that our message is heard so far away and that many Greek immigrants respond.

Our decision not to accept money is a conscious one.   For one thing, we don’t want anyone to doubt that their help will reach its goal.  For another, if a person wants to help and brings us medicine or some other contribution in kind, he becomes involved in lending a helping hand to those in need.  The donor enters the process, and may come to the clinic and see what is being done.  In this is the way people learn they can become part of the solution to our problems.  The magic word and concept is self organization.

We thank wholeheartedly all those who help so much by bringing various medicines to our doors each and every week.  We also wish to thank those who stand at our side in protesting against the outrageous conditions sweeping like a whirlwind through our society.

We hope our thanks can be felt in the far-flung shores of Australia.  We send them our love and gratitude.   


METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (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

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko at Strasburg One More Time




Press Release
The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko at Strasburg One More Time

MCCH was invited once more to take part in an event of the Council of Europe held on June 24th in Strasbourg.  This has been the second time in eight months (Read more here about the first time).

The event coincides with the opening of the new European Parliament after the latest European elections – and is therefore significant.  The volunteer doctor George Vichas was our representative and spoke mainly on three issues. 

The first analyzed the present situation of public health in Greece – especially as far as the uninsured are concerned, with special note on the changes since the first meeting eight months ago.  The picture was not a happy one since there was an obvious deterioration on all levels of the Greek public health system.

The second subject concerned the ways in which independent and active citizens could mobilize to aid vulnerable groups victimized by the state itself with their inhuman policies.  The experience and endeavors of MCCH during the last 2 ½ years were used to exemplify what independent citizens could do.

The third subject focused on the fact that the deplorable situation in Greece has reached the unpleasant necessity for legal action against so many people in the government whose policies have led to the disability and death of uninsured patients.  It was also explained how these policies, besides being unethical and un-humanitarian, ended up costing the country more in the long run.

The audience was bothered by some of the hard truths presented by Dr. Vichas – especially when they heard the word “murder” likened to the deaths of uninsured patients.  There are those in the Council of Europe who don’t want to hear about the guilt of politicians, whether in Greece or elsewhere in Europe that should be investigated.

All we can say is that such devastating problems should not and cannot be wished away by ineffectual resolutions and PR gimmicks.  What is happening in Greece will become known.  We and other volunteer community clinics and pharmacies will continue to oppose such brutal policies wherever they come from.





METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO 

  Working Hours
(MONDAY - FRIDAY 10:00 - 20:00)  and (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