In times of great social and financial crisis, such as those our country has been experiencing over the last few years, the most vulnerable social groups, the poorest and most marginalized populations face the risk of complete exclusion, of the most extreme poverty.
All fundamental human rights - the right to food, to employment, to healthcare and housing - are of great importance to poor populations.You see, poverty and social exclusion are directly linked to discrimination, unequal access to resources and opportunities, social and cultural stigmatization. At the same time, they hinder the participation of such groups in public life, their ability to influence the policies that concern them, and their recourse to the judicial means that will rectify any inequity.
Poverty does not only mean insufficient income and material goods; it also means a lack of resources, security, and above all, lack of opportunities. The absence of all of these undermines human dignity, and renders the poor even more vulnerable. Poverty also relates to power: it defines who can exercise power and who cannot, both in public life and within the family.
Reaching the core of the complex network of power relationships in the political, economic and social field is of critical importance so as to understand and confront established forms of discrimination, inequality and exclusion, which condemn individuals, societies and peoples to many generations of poverty.
Fundamentally, poverty and social exclusion are related to democracy itself. The New Poor, the long-term unemployed, the homeless, Roma populations, refugees, migrants, people with mental health problems, and anyone living in the margins of society, are currently beyond the spectrum of a deep and permanent poverty. They face the risk of multiple and multifaceted social exclusion that has - for them - all the characteristics of a humanitarian crisis.
In such difficult times, the right to life and dignity is no longer either self-evident, or obvious. And it is exactly this fundamental human right that we, medical and nursing staff, are obliged to defend.
Not only through our actions and physical presence, but by strengthening our voices and arming our efforts with the necessary research and theoretical resources. Because “Les Miserables” deserve the same interest, the same care, the same concern as anyone else. With a different type of medicine. With what we understand as medicine.
A medicine of big numbers, a medicine of meagre means, a “street medicine”. Standing by the most vulnerable, the most neglected populations. Standing by all those who are abandoned at the margins of society. Those whom we walk by without a second glance. The poor invisible of our cities. “Les Miserables”.
Because this Medicine does not ask where you come from, or which God do you believe in. It sees no colour or ethnic origin. It does not judge, or choose, or moralise. It demands nothing in exchange.
This Medicine consoles and cares.
But above all, this Medicine bears witness and gives a voice to those who cannot be heard. These past 28 years, our greatest strength, as Greek Doctors of the World, is our members, our volunteers, members of our society who have supported and continue to support our effort with such selflessness and self-sacrifice. For as long as being part of the Doctors of the World means toil, tears and sweat, we will continue to be proud of expressing humanity and solidarity in Greece.
President of the Board - Médecins du Monde
In 2017, we were confronted with the effects of a great social and economic crisis, as experienced by our fellow countrymen and women. The most vulnerable social groups, the poorest and most marginalized, are faced with the risk of complete exclusion, and the most extreme poverty. We have seen basic human rights, such as the right to food, to employment, to healthcare and housing, becoming uncertainties.
Such rights are extremely important for this population, since poverty and social exclusion are directly linked to discrimination, unequal access to resources and opportunities, social and cultural exclusion.
Refugees, immigrants, documented or undocumented, the long-term unemployed, the homeless, Roma populations and the New Poor currently find themselves beyond the spectrum of a deep and permanent poverty and faced with the risk of multiple and multifaceted social exclusion that has all the characteristics of a humanitarian crisis.
Within the past year, we at Médecins du Monde have been called to care for and provide our services to a significant number of our fellow humans. In 2017, our Polyclinics alone were visited by more than 62,000 individuals, for medical services and medicines to which they had no access via the national health system.
This year marks our twenty eighth anniversary, and I cannot help but think of all the people I have met, all the volunteers, the doctors, nurses and administrative staff, everyone who has taken part in our domestic and foreign missions, all of our supporters and sponsors.
Without their help and support, none of this could have been achieved.
Therefore, the objective of the Médecins du Monde for subsequent years, is to provide direct and effective medical and humanitarian aid. In 2018, we focus on health and particularly on mental health; on supporting the women and children who are affected in multiple ways by the consequences of difficulties, exclusion and the deprivation of rights; and on people who are deprived of housing and employment.
Our aim is to become the voice of every single person that needs us, and to continue to stand by all of those that the world is slowly forgetting...
Thank you all! ...wherever people are
General Director - Médecins du Monde