(Greek) Project of the day: Social clinics and pharmacies

“During the last few years the Greek health system has almost collapsed. Many medical centres and hospitals have been closed or merged, and the cuts in funding of public hospitals have resulted in basic shortages. In response to this situation several social clinics and pharmacies have emerged. These initiatives were set up by doctors, nurses and pharmacists who provide their services voluntarily and for free. The necessary equipment and medicines are paid for by them or donated by people or pharmacies that want to collaborate. This “social health movement” has spread throughout Greece. Social clinics and social pharmacies can be found in almost every prefecture of the country.”

We could not have described the situation here in Greece better than the Garefi and Kalemaki’s report on the informal citizen networks (2013). Greece might have seriously been criticised for a lack of competiveness and a market that does not catalyse innovation; however, the country is arguably a “social innovation paradise”. The social clinics and pharmacies are one more example of this “social innovation paradise” neoliberals have inadvertently succeeded in creating. Regarding the aforementioned case, the Solidarity for all project mentions:

“In the sector of health there are social clinics and pharmacies that serve mainly the uninsured and unemployed people. Their function is supported exclusively by the volunteer work and donations of the simple people, usually only in kind. Some (very few and left-wing) municipalities also supported them by way of offering remises. A picture of the degree of mobilisation of the people can be drawn by the data of the Metropolitan Clinic of Ellinikon-Argyroupoli, in which there were 60 volunteers active in the first months of its function (spring of 2012) while now there are 150. All decisions of the social clinics are taken in their general assemblies, with the equal participation of all, the medical specialised personnel and the unskilled volunteers, while there is effort to involve their patients, too. A network of social clinics-pharmacies is already developed, trying to give immediate and practical solutions to phenomena of lack of medicins, vaccines etc. through the collection and reuse of drugs not needed by the initial users. Data from three social clinics from the south up to the north of the country, register in fact the increasing size of the need for medical and pharmaceutical treatment. The Social Clinic of Rethymnon (Crete) served 780 persons in 2008/9, 1100 in 2010 and 1580 in 2011. The Metropolitan Clinic of Ellinikon (south-east Athens area) since its inception in February 2012 until August, served 1200 incidents while between September 2012 and November, it served 1800. Correspondingly, the Social Clinic of Thessaloniki, between November 2011 and November 2012, had a total of 6000 visits.”

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.