The Mobile Medical Units returned from Astypalaia
10 June 2014

The two state-of-the-art Mobile Medical Units have successfully completed yet another mission, this time in Astypalaia, where the border island’s residents had the opportunity to receive comprehensive medical care and support, completely free of charge, from the professional volunteer doctors taking part in the five-year National Primary Healthcare Education and Promotion Program in island and border regions of Greece.

As part of the Mobile Medical Units’ mission in Astypalaia, which lasted for 5 days (May 29th – June 3rd), a total of 806 of the island’s residents, of all ages, were seen by the Program’s volunteer doctors, who carried out 1,276 medical examinations and 2,261 appointments. In particular, they performed 200 ultrasound scans, 227 electrocardiograms, 371 x-rays, 113 cardiac ultrasounds, 106 mammography screenings, 99 smear tests, 83 bone density scans, 37 HbA1C tests, and 40 spirometries. In addition, during the course of the examinations carried out in Astypalaia, three patients were diagnosed with serious heart conditions, and one with post-operative complications following a cornea transplant.  

The Program, which is being carried out by initiative of and through an exclusive grant by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, was launched in January 2014, when the two Mobile Medical Units carried out their first mission in Kastelorizo. The Program’s aim is to provide residents of border islands and remote regions in Greece with open access to reliable medical services, while offering preventive care and promoting health and wellness on a national level, especially in this time of crisis, when the Health sector is suffering. 

From January until the present day, there have been four (4) successful missions to KastelorizoAmorgosKasos and Astypalaia, where a total of 5,735 medical examinations were performed, and 2,430 citizens were seen by the Program’s scientific team and the medical and nursing staff that accompany the units on each of their visits. The Program aims to cover, over five years, the medical and diagnostic needs of approximately 55,000 citizens of all ages, in 35 islands and border regions across Greece. 

The Program is considered innovative, on account of being the first in Greece to provide, in such a comprehensive way through the Mobile Medical Units, open access for citizens to all medical specialties, as well as to specialized medical equipment, which makes the units capable of responding to even the most demanding of cases. In particular, through the Mobile Units, citizens have access to the services of a pediatrician, a gynecologist, a cardiologist, a dentist, an orthopedist, an ophthalmologist, a pulmonologist, a general surgeon, a neurologist, a psychologist, a dietician, and an otolaryngologist, as well as to state-of-the-art equipment, such as a digital mammography unit, a portable X-ray machine, and a bone density scanner.

In the six months since it was launched, the Program has already fulfilled its original purpose of providing residents of the country’s remote areas with free and open access to health services characterized by high quality and a holistic approach. 

Specifically, during the January-June 2014 period, there have been:

•606 ultrasounds

•559 electrocardiograms,

•903 X-rays

•499 cardiac ultrasounds

•285 μ mammography screenings

•245 Pap (smear) tests

•245 bone density scans

•111 HbA1C tests

•75 spirometries

In addition, the Program has included 15 surgical operations performed under local anesthetic. At the same time, the team has presented dozens of educational talks to thousands of citizens and students, on issues of healthy eating, early diagnosis of learning disabilities, sexual education, career counseling and first aid training. 

Based on the data collected, the medical team will re-visit the islands in the next six months in order to provide additional specialized support in response to the particular needs they identified during their first visit.

In charge of the Program’s design and implementation is Dr. Panagiotis Koulouvaris, Head Lecturer at the University Orthopedic Clinic and Scientific Coordinator of the Olympic Village Polyclinic Orthopedic Department.

The next mission will take place in Psarra, of the 4th of July 4.

For more information about the Mobile Medical Units, click here.