9 April 2017 Helliniko
Support for the Kalamata Social Solidarity Clinic
In the five years that the Kalamata Social Solidarity Clinic has operated, the clinic has had three break-ins. And in all three the thieves only took the central computer which had the files of the clinic. Now they are being more openly attacked by the municipal authorities who want them turned out.
This free clinic is one of dozens of social clinics existing throughout Greece. There is one thing these dispensaries have in common – they are self-organized, independent and are responsible to no one since they are not subsidized by official state bodies. They are not an NGOs. They provide primary health care free of charge on a voluntary basis. They provide health care and medicines to the uninsured, the needy and the unemployed.
Their creation came about by individuals exercising their basic democratic rights of free citizens to cooperate on issues that directly affect their fellow citizens. In other words to stand in solidarity with them. In times of crisis, like the long one we are living through, this right becomes an absolute duty. And that is why thousands of volunteers, both health professionals and those assisting them have come together to play their part. They seek to assist those in need who have been abandoned by the ruling authorities.
Also social clinics have demanded and continue to demand full, cost free medical care for all under the Greek public health system. Along with that, they push for improvements in the horrible hospital system with its lengthy delays, serious understaffing of doctors and nurses and enormous deficiencies of medicine and medical equipment.
The social clinics, in addition to the above, have pointed a way to a different type of medical care. Because of they are based on solidarity and operate on the basis of equals working with equals, they provide a different quality of medical care. Patients report feeling cared for and many, in turn offered their services to their social clinic. The volunteer doctors work with their patients as partners, not just viewing them as a description of a disease.
Ordinary people, from both inside and outside Greece understand the importance of these dispensaries and support them with offerings of medical equipment and medicines. Volunteers experience solidarity with patients, and vice versa; it has become a partnership of equals. This behavior is in conflict with the dominant institutional model of “we decide what’s good for you; you follow our rules.”
The overwhelming majority of municipal authorities are bothered by this change and, at best, tolerates the social clinics without assisting them, or at worst, hinders them.
On the other hand it is required that each municipality put aside public areas for social and cultural projects. The municipalities should provide appropriate buildings for social clinics.
Unfortunately, the municipality in Kalamata adheres to the old way of doing things and often puts up obstacles to hinder the work of the Social Solidarity Clinic of Kalamata. They have lodged an ultimatum that the clinic must vacate its premises where it is housed and has provided its services for five years. Its 250 volunteers and network of dozens of cooperating clinics and dispensaries, its 9,000 patients and 20,000 patient visits don’t seem to matter a bit. The “reason” for the removal is the establishment of a municipal service. Despite efforts and meaningful proposals and alternative suggestion of volunteers for a suitable place, the municipal authorities answer with “solutions” that will in fact cancel the operation of the clinic.
The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko supports the struggle of the volunteers at the Social Solidarity Clinic of Kalamata and we ask for respect for the individuals who need the services of the clinic, individuals who have need of support and solidarity.
We also call the municipal authorities meet its obligation and provide an appropriate space for the clinic. They should respect the five years of service offered to those in need in the area. The service offered by dozens of local doctors and their coworkers as well as the hundreds of volunteers is a living lesson in social sensitivity, dignity, solidarity and humanity.
METROPOLITAN COMMUNITY CLINIC AT HELLINIKO
(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