Greece’s public health system has been a top target for spending cuts to finance the country’s debts to international creditors. Its budget has decreased by almost 50 percent since 2009. One third of the population in Greece is without social insurance. The savage cuts have led to the closing of entire hospitals and clinics.
All over Greece there are more than 40 ‘solidarity’ health clinics run completely by volunteer doctors and regular citizens. These ‘solidarity clinics’ — free and unregulated — have sprung up around Greece in recent years to treat people who no longer have access to healthcare. Medicine donations come from ordinary people in Greece and abroad, while equipment comes from retiring private doctors or from abroad. Today, even public hospitals are turning to the solidarity clinics for donations in medicines.
Eleni – The Athens Community Polyclinic and Pharmacy www.kifa-nsmirnis.gr
After the crisis hit Greece, many people became homeless, unemployed or were unable to pay their health insurance. We all faced the dilemma of whether to just sit and doing nothing or to participate to help create change. I believe that the political situation will not change unless we all help and do something. Everyone needs to do what they can.
It is not a matter of hope. I fight for something. There are losses and victories. If we sit and do nothing, you cannot hope for anything. Only by contributing towards a better future we can start to hope. We always hope that more and more people get interested in the grassroots solidarity movement. When you start contributing you find more and more people around you that create change. No one gains anything by just sitting and doing nothing.
Whoever comes to power cannot change the situation quickly. It will be a gradual change over many years. Even if we have a government from the people, it would be very difficult to better the current condition of the health service. Too much damage has been done. The situation is very difficult and we will need many years to achieve a change.
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