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Mobile Medical Units: Free State-of-the-Αrt Care for the Rest of Greece

Since 2014, nonprofit Regeneration and Progress (R&P) has designed and implemented a series of free services in the areas of health, sports, and education through an exclusive grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF).

The Mobile Medical Units (MMU) provide primary health care services to people who live in remote islands and mainland locations throughout Greece. Travel restrictions due to adverse weather, especially during the winter, often isolate the population of these regions for months. Unfortunately, in many of these areas, health services are inadequate. Out of this need, the idea of the MMU was born.

SNF provided a grant to R&P, which funded the acquisition of two state-of-the-art medical trucks, which can provide mammography, radiology, bone density measurements, and dentistry. The trucks have traveled with the MMU continuously since 2014 and have provided thousands of diagnostic tests and medical services. But more important than the equipment is the team of doctors and medical professionals that was put together. These people have been travelling with the MMU for the past six years and have shown great dedication to the program, sacrificing their personal time and setting aside their own practice. I have experienced firsthand the contagious energy, inspirational spirit, and loving care they offer patients.

During the lockdown, the MMU had to pause their excursions for the first time in their history. However, the team did not quit on their mission. They established a hotline for all the locations they have visited in the past for people to call with any medical concerns or questions. Additionally, they trained their personnel in the use of ventilators and other medical practices relating to COVID-19. As soon as travel restrictions were lifted in June, the MMU went on an accelerated schedule and have been making visits since.

Greece is a land blessed with beautiful nature and landscapes. Islands of unique beauty and character, etched through centuries in the Homeric wine-dark sea, attract visitors from all over the world. But the heart of this country has always been, and remains, its people. Hardworking but always hopeful and optimistic, hospitable and generous. These people deserve the best health care. The vision of the MMU is about recognizing the need and providing these people with sometimes lifesaving medical services. It is about treating people with love and respect, honoring the Hippocratic Oath in its birthplace.

Spyros Alexopoulos
SNF Program Officer, Athens