Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature BMJ Christmas Appeal 2013

Why ordinary Greeks need medical aid

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 29 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1171
  1. Jane Feinmann, freelance journalist
  1. 1London, UK

BMJ readers have so far raised £13 000 for Doctors of the World. As our appeal enters its final week, Jane Feinmann looks at recession hit Greece, where it isn't just refugees who depend on the charity's work

When Doctors of the World expanded its charitable healthcare services five years ago in Greece in response to the developing financial crisis, the expectation was that most of those in need would be immigrants and refugees. Yet up to 80% of those seeking the charity’s help are Greek natives in dire need of basic healthcare, including vaccinations, antenatal care, obstetrics, and surgery.

“Every day, we see people who three years ago had a house and car and are now on the edge of despair, existing below the poverty line, unable to afford even milk or vaccines for their children,” says Liana Mailli, president of Doctors of the World, Greece, and a volunteer at the free Perama polyclinic in Athens since it opened in 2009. “No one expected so many people to become unemployed in such a short time. …

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