03 JULY 2019 / Stavros Niarchos Foundation’s (SNF) Health Initiative - Fifth Regular Quarterly Progress Update

SNF’s Health Initiative seeks to address Greece’s greatest needs in the field, as discussed by the SNF and the Greek Ministry of Health, with which the initiative is implemented. The aim of the Health Initiative, announced in September of 2017, is to enhance medical and nursing care and, by extension, the health of Greece’s inhabitants by drawing on a budget of more than $380 million.

Specifically, the Health Initiative includes support for: the design, construction, and outfitting of new facilities for the new SNF General Hospital of Komotini and the establishment of the SNF University Pediatric Hospital of Thessaloniki, enhanced education resources in the nursing sector, the procurement and installation of equipment for Evangelismos General Hospital and of special medical equipment for medical facilities across Greece, reinforcing the capacity and efficiency of the National Center for Emergency Care’s (EKAV) air ambulance services, and medical education and training programs.

SNF shares regular updates on the progress of grants implemented in collaboration with the Greek state, a practice begun in the spirit of transparency and providing timely information to the public with the creation of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC). This is the fifth quarterly update on the Health Initiative.

At the same time, and at the initiative of SNF, the aim is to co-organize with respective Municipalities regular open discussions, at least biannually, on both the new SNF General Hospital of Komotini and the SNF University Pediatric Hospital of Thessaloniki to provide accurate and timely information to the public on the progress of the two projects.

Since the last quarterly update, the following developments have taken place:

>The New SNF General Hospital of Komotini

Following the Ministry of Health’s finalization and approval of a building and clinical program for the new SNF General Hospital of Komotini, the architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop (RPBW) and the team of Special Consultants completed a preliminary study for the project in late June, in keeping with the planned timeline.

Renzo Piano and his associates presented the plans and guiding philosophy of the preliminary study during a meeting with representatives of SNF and the Ministry of Health on June 27, 2019. The promotion of holistic healthcare and wellbeing, and not just of treatment, is central to the design philosophy, with environmentally conscious design having a leading role.

The next step is the completion of the final study, which will take approximately six (6) months. Furthermore, the Ministry of Infrastructure & Transportation is expected to approve the studies for complementary infrastructure projects by mid-July so that work on them can begin.

In early June, we hosted the first open discussion in collaboration with the Municipality of Komotini, during which we presented the preliminary studies for the building and answered questions from local residents.

According to the initial planned timetable, which so far has been followed without any delays, the new SNF General Hospital of Komotini is due to be completed and delivered in June 2024.


>The SNF University Pediatric Hospital of Thessaloniki

In early May, the Ministry of Health approved the building and clinical program of the SNF University Pediatric Hospital of Thessaloniki submitted by the team of consultants collaborating in the project. The study for the infrastructure projects has been assigned to a consulting firm by the relevant Ministry. At the same time, the preliminary study for the project by the architecture firm RPBW and the team of Special Consultants is underway. RPBW presented preliminary designs to representatives of SNF and the Ministry of Health, following the presentation that took place on the new SNF General Hospital of Komotini on June 27, 2019. Completion of the preliminary study is expected by November 2019.

The philosophy that inspires the design of this hospital are similar to that guiding the SNF General Hospital of Komotini, highlighting the healing power of science and nature.

Earlier in June, we had the opportunity to discuss the project with residents of the Municipality of Pylaia-Chortiatis. Together we covered the project timelines and our respective expectations for the enhancement of national healthcare for the children of Thessaloniki and Northern Greece.

Completion and delivery of the SNF University Pediatric Hospital of Thessaloniki project is expected in October 2024.


> Support for Nurses and Nursing
(Procuring equipment and designing curricula for three Educational Nursing Units at Evangelismos General Hospital and at the School of Health Sciences of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens [NKUA])

The proposals presented to SNF by the three Educational Nursing Units at Evangelismos Hospital and the Department of Nursing at the School of Health Sciences at NKUA have been finalized, in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Hospital, which has undertaken a consulting role in the project.

The proposals include three areas of support: a) for the procurement of equipment for laboratories, b) for educational programs, and c) for research programs. The details of the proposals, as well as the obligations of the parties involved, will be finalized in the next phase, with a goal of having the specific grant contract ratified by the Greek Parliament in the fall of 2019. Delivery of the equipment to the three Units at Evangelismos Hospital and the NKUA Nursing Department is expected in October 2020.

 

> Procurement and Installation of Equipment at Evangelismos General Hospital

Following the completion of a call for tenders by SNF for all the specified medical equipment, according to the specifications of the Hospital and the Ministry of Health, SNF is in the process of evaluating the proposals. With the agreement of the Hospital, we will proceed, in July 2019, with selecting a contractor for the procurement of the equipment. Procurement and installation of the medical equipment is scheduled to be completed by March 2020, provided that the necessary actions have been taken by the Hospital following the agreed upon timeline.

> Procurement and Maintenance of Equipment for the National Center for Emergency Care’s (EKAV) Air Ambulance Services

The grant contract for the supply and maintenance of equipment for the Greek National Center for Emergency Care’s (EKAV) medivac operations between SNF and the Greek state was ratified by law by the Greek Parliament, on June 7, 2019. A call for tenders for the selection of a contractor for the procurement of two (2) new medivac airplanes is currently underway by SNF, as is the signing of the agreement with the company responsible for repairing two (2) helicopters, with the aim of delivering them to the Greek state in March 2021.

> Procurement and Installation of Specialized Medical Equipment across Greece

Following the SNF and the Ministry of Health’s finalizing of the grant’s scope for the procurement and installation of PET (positron emission tomography) equipment and the creation of radiopharmaceutical manufacturing units in selected public hospitals across Greece, the relevant agreement was ratified by the Greek Parliament on June 7. According to the plans made by SNF and the Ministry of Health, provisions have been made for the installation of PET/CT equipment at the University Hospitals of Heraklion, Ioannina, Larissa, and Alexandroupolis, while radiopharmaceutical units will be installed at the University Hospitals of Heraklion, Ioannina, and Larissa and at the Papageorgiou General Hospital of Thessaloniki.

The next step is for SNF to conduct a call for tenders for the procurement of equipment, while the Greek state is starting the process of preparing the premises that will receive the equipment. According to the current timetable, delivery of the equipment is scheduled for August 2020, provided that the obligations of all parties involved are met.

> Design and Implementation of Educational Resources

Three of the four programs that were designed by the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the nonprofit Regeneration & Progress for the treatment of trauma are proceeding in accordance with the established timeline. These include the ATCN program for the training of nursing students in the treatment of trauma; a scholarship program for the training of doctors in the treatment of trauma at the world’s largest trauma center, the Chris Hani Baragwanath Academic Hospital in South Africa; and a training program for surgeons using arthroscopy and laparoscopic surgery simulators.

A framework governing each relevant parties’ obligations is in the process of being finalized, in order for the agreement to be ratified into law by the Greek Parliament in the fall and for implementation to proceed. The ATCN program—with potential for expansion across Greece—and the training of doctors in South Africa will be covered for five years by SNF, after which the Greek state/Ministry of Health has committed to undertake their funding. The five-year training program for surgeons will take place with the support of SNF.

With regard to the fourth educational program, the ATLS program for the training of medical students, an effective solution for implementation could not be mutually agreed upon, despite SNF’s efforts. However, SNF, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, is considering including an alternate program in the Initiative, namely the PHTLS training program in the treatment of trauma for EKAV rescue personnel.

As reported in the previous regular quarterly progress update, and despite SNF’s efforts, the specific component of the grant related to infectious diseases cannot be implemented by the Greek Project Team as initially designed, and therefore has been cancelled. However, SNF recognizes the critical need for the establishment of an impactful program to address hospital infections and continues to examine the possibility of collaborating with other institutions on this issue.

Appendix
“Health Initiative SA” was established to oversee the coordination, management, and implementation of the Health Initiative projects until their delivery to the Greek state, at which time it will be dissolved.

The team of associates ensuring optimal design and implementation of the projects includes Hill International, the company responsible for the overall management of the building projects, while a team from Johns Hopkins University and Hospital acts as consultants, transferring the expertise of a premier U.S. healthcare institution to Greece. The architectural firm Renzo Piano Building Workshop is responsible for the design of the building projects in collaboration with the Greek architecture firm Betaplan, while British company Llewelyn Davies is offering consulting services for hospital planning and design.

SNF Health Initiative Milestones

September 6, 2017: Announcement of the Health Initiative by SNF
March 21, 2018: Signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between SNF and the Greek state
June 20, 2018: Presentation of preliminary building plans by Renzo Piano to the Prime Minister at the Maximos Mansion
September 20, 2018: Ratification under law by the Greek Parliament of the Grant Contract for the Health Initiative
September 27, 2018: The first meeting of the Special Advisory Committee for the Health Initiative, of ten total meetings to date
December 20, 2018: Cancellation of the grant for the infrastructure construction project at Evangelismos General Hospital and addition of two new grants to Evangelismos General Hospital and to the School of Health Sciences of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens [NKUA]) for the procurement of equipment for laboratories and implementation of educational and research programs
April 18 2019: Cancellation of the educational program on the treatment of in-hospital infections
June 7, 2019: Ratification by Law of the Grant Agreements for the Supply of EKAV Equipment and the Installation of Medical Equipment in Public Hospitals

 

A few words on SNF’s support for healthcare in Greece

The Health Initiative follows a $15 million SNF grant last year to the National Center for Emergency Care (EKAV) for the acquisition of 143 state-of-the-art ambulances and their full maintenance for a period of eight years, as well as for digital upgrades to EKAV’s operations center. Since 1996, when it began its grant-making activity, SNF has provided grants totaling more than $130 million for the support of healthcare in Greece. Past grants in the health sector include a $23 million grant for the procurement and installation of ten linear accelerators in seven public hospitals across Greece; a grant for the renovation of all Pediatric Intensive Care Units (ICUs) in Greece; and a grant for the construction and outfitting of hostels for the relatives of patients in hospitals around the country including in Alexandroupoli, Ioannina, Patras, and Crete. In addition, SNF initiated the Mobile Medical Units program, in collaboration with the nonprofit Regeneration & Progress, to provide free specialist medical care to the inhabitants of islands and remote regions in Greece.