Médecins du Monde’s main mission is to provide healthcare, support and protection to vulnerable population groups. However, no remedy and no assistance can improve the lives of people in the long term, without the necessary social change.
Médecins du Monde, based always on their medical experience, speak openly against hindering access to health, and against the violation of human rights and human dignity.
The Annual Report issued by the International Network of Médecins du Monde, on Vulnerabilities in Health, based on the medical and social records collected in 2016 in 14 European countries, reveals that the national health systems in Europe fail to respond to the needs of socially vulnerable groups. The report points out that austerity policies place public health at risk, and urges European governments to affirm their commitment to universal health coverage.
Children are a top priority for Médecins du Monde Greece. On World Mental Health Day, Médecins du Monde spoke of the mental health of unaccompanied minors. Many of these children have experienced war, violence, exploitation. These children need our help, to make sure that their emotional wounds heal. We also submitted observations to the UN Human Rights Committee, relating to the protection of children in Greece and Greece’s compliance with its obligations as arising from the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Médecins du Monde continued to campaign against high medicine prices and high cost therapies. To this end, the organization submitted a new appeal against the patent protecting Sofosbuvir, the main active substance for the production of a drug against Hepatitis C. At the same time, together with another 30 organizations from all over Europe, we co-signed an open letter addressed to the European Commission, asking for abolition of the so-called “supplementary protection certificates”, which allow pharmaceutical companies to make unfair use of legislative provisions on intellectual/industrial property rights and maintain the prices of essential drugs at high levels. The aim is to make treatment accessible to anyone that needs it.
In 2017, our country continued to find itself at the heart of the refugee crisis. Médecins du Monde - Greece, pointed out the health risks faced by all the people living in the refugee hotspots on the islands, and that ensuring dignified and safe living conditions is a major issue that goes far beyond any political objectives and priorities.
The President of Médecins du Monde - Greece, Mr Nikitas Kanakis, participated in a joint meeting of the Economic and Social Committee of Greece and the European Economic and Social Committee, and discussed the effects of the austerity measures in our country. Mr Kanakis shared the experience of Médecins du Monde with respect to the management of the humanitarian crisis, the economic adjustment programmes for Greece and their effects on the Greek society.
Dr Chara Tziouvara, Paediatrician/Neonatologist and member of the Board of Directors of Médecins du Monde - Greece, took part in a discussion organized by TIME magazine during the 72nd General Assembly of the United Nations, in New York, on the subject of the Refugee Crisis and its impact on pregnant women.
In June 2017 we participated in the two-day world conference on migrant children, which takes place in Berlin. During a special panel on the theme of health and education, we discussed how the international community can ensure that each child has full access to health services, vaccinations and suitable conditions for the development of their personality. Respecting diversity and combating intolerance are necessary prerequisites for social cohesion. Being an active member of the Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN), we participated in a meeting of the parliamentary Permanent Special Committee for Equality, Youth and Human Rights, on the occasion of the annual report of the Racist Violence Recording Network.
Access to medical and pharmaceutical care and the promotion of sexual and reproductive health are priorities for Médecins du Monde.
On occasion of the 2016 annual progress report on the “Mother & Child” project, we organized a conference entitled “Unspoken Voices”. This event highlighted the main issues regarding access to maternal care services, and formulated policy proposals for ensuring maternal health. Médecins du Monde organized a scientific conference on “Primary health care and psychosocial support for migrant populations”. Important topics, such as the relationship between mental health and migration, the protection of vulnerable groups, women and children, victims of torture, sexual violence, trafficking, etc., were discussed during the two-day event.
On the occasion of the one-year anniversary of the EU-Turkey agreement on refugees and migrants, along with other organizations we implemented a joint press conference on the 16th of March. We discussed the significant impact of policies on the physical and mental health of refugees and migrants, and the need for a sustainable and functional European migration policy.