The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko, or MCCH in short, provides free primary medical care and medication to all uninsured, unemployed and needy patients regardless of who they are or where they come from. The goal of the clinic is to serve people, but its volunteers have no illusion that they can replace the Greek national health care system (nor do they wish to). We strive for a public health care system that provides high quality services and is open to all. Cardiologist George Vichas first had the idea of creating a volunteer run community clinic in 2011. He and a small group of six people met in early 2011, a few months before the demonstrations in Syntagma square began in the spring of the same year. As the disruptions that took place that summer, this small group grew and the idea began to take shape to actively resist the dismantling of the Greek public health care system. The words of Mikis Theodorakis triggered the effort. To a small group of people shortly before a concert in September 2011 at the old Airport of Elliniki, he said: “No Greek should go hungry, no Greek should be left without a doctor.” Dr. Vichas and the volunteers approached the Helliniko – Argyroupoli municipality, which decided to actively assist in making this idea a reality. They granted the volunteers access to a building and provided basic utilities. The small initial group grew larger along the way. MCCH moved in during the fall of 2011 and we haven’t looked back since.
Our volunteers now number more than 200 and include a growing number of doctors, dentists, pharmacists, therapists and support staff. We are treating an ever growing number of patients, at times more than 100 per day. Moreover, MCCH provides psychological support to the unemployed, as well as baby food and other basic baby needs, all free of charge. All medicine and various items are donations from fellow citizens with the urge to stand by those in need during the economic crisis that we are all going through.
MCCH was built and runs on three core principles:
1) We do not accept monetary donations from anyone.
2) We do not allow any political party to be involved in the clinic’s operation or activities.
3) We do not promote anyone or allow anyone to promote themselves for any donation made.
Therefore, based on these pillars:
– MCCH only accepts donations in kind or services.
– MCCH lets no political party exploit the work of the clinic and its 200 plus volunteers.
– All donors, citizens, companies, organizations that help MCCH do so in the understanding that they cannot publicly advertise their support. The only references in our press releases to individuals or organizations have to do with the public nature of their operation or the public good. We never make reference to the vast number of individuals, companies and institutions that give their time and resources to support our mission.
The clinic is not funded by anyone (other than its operating expenses being covered by the Helliniko – Argyroypoli municipality). Volunteers and friends of the clinic organize an annual bazaar which covers some of our needs. Additionally, we gladly accept gifts of medication or goods or volunteer labor. This ensures our autonomy and independence. We value transparency at every level. All major non-medical decisions are taken collectively in a general assembly of the volunteers.
You can see a photo album with our activities HERE
A video presentation of our clinic and a video with the assessment of our work for 2012-2013 follow.
Our most important moments during 2013.