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


Monday, September 30, 2013

The Greeks of Australia Assist MCCH


PRESS RELEASE
The Greeks of Australia Assist MCCH
The photos are of activities organized by fellow Greeks from Australia


It gives us great pleasure to host a reception for Australian group “Ambassadors of Greece” (each ethnic Greek represents Greece).  The reception will take place Saturday, 5 October 2013 at 12:00 pm at the Helliniko Cultural Center (next to MCCH).  All are invited.  We are expecting representatives of the media as well.


The organization, working in cooperation with the Greek Orthodox Communities of Melbourne and Victoria, and with nine Greek schools, have frequently organized activities that have supported the Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko.  Private individuals, and charitable organizations of Melbourne and others from abroad learned about us and wanted to participate.  They have helped MCCH by sending medicine, and other materials that were of immediate need to our patients.


Come join us on Saturday to celebrate the love and solidarity shown by Greeks from abroad.  It will also be a chance for you to see, up close, the work we do at Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko.  
 
 
 
 

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, September 26, 2013

Are the benefits substantial or is it only about pure announcements of the Ministry of Health? Are the community clinics the target?




PRESS RELEASE

"Are the benefits substantial or is it only about pure announcements of the Ministry of Health? Are the community clinics the target?”


After two (2) years of silence, the Ministry of Health suddenly decided, end of August 2013, to introduce a new program for citizens who had no social security and had been left to their fate, namely the “health voucher”. The program applies to a small portion of uninsured citizens i.e. about 230,000 people. With duration of only two years, it offers a limited range of primary health care services – which are also docked – excluding any plan for the provision of medicines, the coverage of potential expensive medical examinations or the secondary health treatment in hospitals e.t.c.
All of a sudden, again, the Ministry of Health revealed on the 10th of September a signed cooperation pact with the Medical Association of Athens (MAA), the Hellenic Association of Pharmaceutical Companies (SFEE) and the Archdiocese, where it is agreed to provide poor and uninsured citizens with free medicines close to expiration date.
At the same time, hospitals in the country are closing, thousands of employees among doctors and the nursing stuff do not know if they will continue to be occupied; the Greek National Organization for Healthcare Provision is walking the tightrope, and no one knows whether it will continue to exist- at least in its today miserable state- or if it will become a mini contractor to distribute the healthcare services, people with health coverage are entitled, to private institutions. 
The Ministry of Health owes to fight for a solution to cover the weakest social groups as a total.  What it does instead today, is preannouncing programs that cover only a small portion of uninsured and poor citizens, followed by the involvement of the pharmaceuticals to provide them (as reported in the interview) with medicines six months before their expiration date, that is, medicines they can not distribute to the market.
We always quote examples, so, at this point, we would like to remind you of one of the most serious cases we have experienced with regard to the Ministry of Health: cancer patients, with no healthcare coverage were excluded from the Greek Public Health System and had been abandoned to their fate, till last year, when they took a breath of life and gained new hope for life in the oncology clinic of the Sotiria hospital. This was achieved thanks to the employees, who opened the gates of the hospital to the uninsured cancer patients, that is, they did ON THEIR OWN what the STATE REFUSED to do.  The question now is: Will the UNIQUE clinic that is open to the UNINSURED patients continue to operate? We hope that the new announcements will not have any impact on the Sotiria clinic’s operation. But, if our fears are verified, we would like to make clear that we will not give our consent. In such an unpleasant case, we are ready to inform and motivate all citizens to react with all means.  
Our doubts are substantiated by the  fact that the Ministry of Health has repeatedly lied in the past by claiming that all uninsured citizens have access to the Public Health System
(watch the video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlXLLYopTsY with the former minister Andreas Lykourentzos as well as the following video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eCT8B31x7U4 with the Representative of the Greek Ministry of Health, Mr. Panos Eustathiou).  Their false statements are proven by the poor measures they are taking. This is why citizens are wondering now about the Ministry of Health’s exact intentions in view of the introducement of the latest half measures. 

We, as a community clinic, continue to demand FREE access to the Greek National Health System for all citizens. Whoever attempts to cut down the right of all citizens for health, with the excuse of the semi-free access, or attempts to shut down the community clinics, and cut off the possibility of assisting the society in such crucial times, will surely find us against him. The community clinics constitute a LAST RESORT and do not aspire to give ground to political confrontations or the promotion of anybody’s political pursuits. 
Whoever attempts to take undue advantage of the solidarity and tries to use it against citizens will find us against him. We, as a community clinic, will not only intensify our fight, but we will also fight against the homicidal laws and policies in Health.


METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKON

OPERATING 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)
TELEPHONE:
210 9631950
Located within the former U.S. Air Force base (next to the Cultural Centre of Hellinikon, 200m away from the Traffic Police)
Blog
http://mki-ellinikou.blogspot.com Email mkiellinikou@gmail.com

Are we with the Darkness or the Light?




PRESS RELEASE
Are we with the Darkness or the Light?


In the 20 months of MCCH’s operation we have published numerous stories of the grim reality people face today who have no money or insurance and who have serious health problems.  They make for heavy reading.  People shut out of the public health system; one wonders why the public prosecutor has not intervened.  
Today, we want to tell the world a profoundly human story.
On Monday, 16 September, a volunteer doctor at our clinic found an elderly woman waiting for him, her eyes swollen with tears.  The woman said “Doctor, you are my only hope.” 
Her 23 year old grandson is uninsured and suffers from chronic myelogenous leukemia.  The treatment is the medication GLIVEC; the cost is around 2,000 euro a month.
She was searching for hope; the poor family could not begin to cover the costs to maintain the young man’s life.  The life of the 23 year old was in imminent danger; for several days he had not had access to medication and was not able to follow the required therapy.
Today, a young man is endangered because the numbers don’t work out at the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Health.  It’s an “accounting problem” a spokesman at the Ministry of Health answered us a short while ago, regarding another cancer patient of ours.
We are pounding on the door at the Ministry of Health once more and ask “Are you going to let this 23 year old young man die?”
The Ministry of Health is silent on the subject.  But in only one day his medication was secured for him for a month – and in a profoundly heartwarming way, a profoundly humbling way.
We announced the problem.  Two patients who are receiving the same treatment decided to give up some of their own medication.  Once gave ten pills, and the other twenty, so that the young uninsured man could have a month’s respite.  Life for one month!  That is the essential, the magnificent message of SOLIDARITY.
A patient gives up extremely expensive medicine for another, cutting off a bit of the thread that keeps him alive.  How humbling and how moving is it to hear from a cancer patient “take some of these pills from mine.”  At the same time, the Ministry of Health answers “It’s an accounting problem.”
For the umpteenth time, we wonder, if this situation was to befall one of their children, what would the decision makers at the Ministry do?
And more importantly, where are our leaders?  With the darkness, or with the light of life?

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

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hope in Greece (by Amy Muse)

Hope in Greece

“People are getting INVOLVED — Folks are DOING something, and that is a magical thing to watch, and even more magical to be involved in,” my dear friend Martha wrote to me this spring from Athens.
The news of Greece, as you know, hasn’t been good. Austerity strategies are a cruel joke, based on false premises. Homelessness, drug addiction, prostitution are on the rise in Athens, as you can see captured in Angelos Tzortzinis’s heartbreaking photos.
Maybe this is all you’ve heard about Greece—one  wave after another of failed bailouts and government infighting. Maybe you’ve tuned out, writing it off as a hopeless cause. Beautiful country, great weather, hopeless politics, nothing to be done. Maybe, then, you need to learn about a remarkable crisis response in Athens: the Metropolitan
Community Clinic at Helliniko
, a free clinic that has sprung up to help the unemployed, uninsured, and/or impoverished Greeks, immigrants, and others who are falling through the widening cracks in the system.
Volunteers bringing medicines to the clinic. Photo from the BBC.
Volunteers bringing medicines to the clinic. Photo from the BBC.
(The space, may I add, is an inspired repurposing of a former American Air Force base.)
The clinic’s been catching some much-deserved media attention: this BBC News Magazine story, a visit from Naomi Klein (scroll down to 29 May 2013). But I know about it from Martha and her husband Mark, who have been volunteering there since its inception (read her quoted in the BBC story). Not the type of folks who sit soliloquizing while something is rotten in the state, they have been translating materials for the clinic’s website, sorting medicines for the storeroom, listening to patients’ stories, chipping in to pay for medicines to keep people going, providing good will and hope.
An authentic hope, as my colleague Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer puts it—one which “pays attention to problems as they actually are to the best of our understanding, even if problems are grave and solutions are demanding or uncertain.” Not the feeble wishful thinking, the “optimism disconnected from reality” that passes for hope in most of our public discourse (and private conversations, for that matter).
Outside of Greece we’re always reading about the high unemployment rate, especially for young people, who are depicted as futureless. In contrast, Martha sees their vibrant creativity at work: “The young people will save us.  There are so many new ideas, initiatives – young folks coming up with wonderful things – ranging from apps that can be used by free clinics to track medications to fun ads for Greek tourism.  Wonderful stuff.”
One of my writing idols Rebecca Solnit profiles the ways communities can rise up in crisis situations: the generosity that individuals show to one another, the calm they find together at the center of the storm. Instead of complaining about how the situation will never be ideal, we could be heroes  building on hope, knowing that “to be hopeful means to be uncertain about the future, to be tender toward possibilities, to be dedicated to change all the way down to the bottom of your heart.”
A logo photo from the clinic website.
A logo photo from the clinic website.
In 1822 Byron wrote to his friend and banker Douglas Kinnaird, “the longer I live – the more I perceive that Money (honestly come by) is the Philosopher’s Stone. . . . I want to get a sum together to go amongst the Greeks or Americans [he meant South Americans] – and do some good.” He did just that: got a sum together and spent the last 100 days of his life trying to do some good in Greece.
I’ve recently returned from the International Byron Conference  at King’s College London.
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/chs/events/Byron-Conference/index.aspx International Byron Conference, King's College London
http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/chs/events/Byron-Conference/index.aspx
International Byron Conference, King’s College London
At the home/office of John Murray, Byron's publisher.
At the home/office of John Murray, Byron’s publisher.
The conference theme was the politics of poetry (and poetry of politics), highlighted by a keynote address by Professor Roderick Beaton, whose new book Byron’s War narrates the trajectory of Byron’s life that led him from romantic young traveler and Romantic poet to statesman working for the Greek cause.
Byron's War cover
Much of what Byron faced in 1824 he would in 2013: petty bickering and mutual undermining between factions who should be working together for a common solution, economically-interested meddling from European leaders who wanted their own piece of Greece, quiet indifference from the many. The venture, then as now, was fraught with uncertainty: are you funding the right people, is your money being used effectively? Will any lasting good come from this? And what precisely do the words “right” and “effectively” and “good” in this situation mean?
It’s easiest to do nothing. But Byron, and Martha and Mark, and countless unsung volunteers, put their philosophers’ stones to good use and sprang into action. Byron’s death in Greece galvanized a movement, and a mythology. Martha is more sanguine: “we will survive and will come out of this different, utterly changed, and pretty much the same.”
P.S. by Martha and Mark:

Mr. Byron, you must have been surprised at hearing your name mentioned in the same sentence with ours – instead of the usual Romantic poets. We were surprised ourselves, because Niko, Eleni, Christo, Lefteris and so many other hard working volunteers weren’t mentioned either. No room you see – there are more than 200 of us. And the doctors! No doctors, no clinic. Ninety doctors and therapists – no room for their names either. Amy is a scholar and knowledgeable about Greece; she has been visiting Greece and writing about it for years. She has written a fair bit about you as well.  So, if you take our names as a stand in for hundreds of volunteers at MCCH, we are very pleased to share the sentence with you. Wish you could show up one afternoon. We’d love to show you around and hear what you have to say.