Medical Mission on Donoussa
Photographer: Yannis Kolesidis
Despite its small size, Greece has one of the largest coastlines in the world thanks to its islands. The Mediterranean country comprises about 6,000 islands and islets that are scattered throughout the Aegean and Ionian seas, of which only 227 are inhabited. This is a unique phenomenon on the European continent.
The lives of the people who live on these islands can be particularly challenging due to their scarce connection with large urban centers. The remoteness of the islands affects everyday life, especially during the winter months, with few young doctors and teachers available. Thus, islanders' access to hospitals and experienced medical staff becomes virtually impossible.
The island of Donoussa, an attractive summer destination in the eastern Cyclades, presents difficult conditions for its 130 inhabitants when it comes to health and education. Donoussa belongs to the so-called non-profit line.
A team of physicians called 'Anagennissi and Proodos' (Renaissance and Progress) visited the island in early May to provide medical services to its few inhabitants. Renaissance and Progress is a non-profit organization that launched in 2008. Its primary purpose is to fill in the healthcare shortages faced by the inhabitants of the border regions of Greece and the 30 remote islands.
During their mission to Donoussa, doctors brought two mobile health units as part of the National Primary Care Program, with the help of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. For one whole day, cardiologists, physicians, orthopedists, neurologists, gynecologists, pediatricians and dentists offered the islanders free high-quality medical services, as well as mammograms, radiography and bone density exams.
The National Primary Care Program is a five-year project that aims to provide complete medical care and support services to people living in remote areas across Greece, something that the National Health System is unable to provide.