Greece: New poor seek humanitarian aid
6 October 2011
Hardest hit by the draconian budget cuts imposed by the debt crisis, the most disadvantaged Greeks are seeking health care from humanitarian NGOs. Interviewed by news web site EUobserver, Apostolos Veizis, head of Médecins Sans Frontières in Greece, says that a growing number of Greek citizens are knocking on the doors of its health centres. Implanted in the country since 1995, these are designed to care for immigrants and refugees sheltered in temporary retention centres, who do not have access to the national health care system.
"With the aggravation of the economic crisis, we are faced with the symptoms of a more serious problem," says Veizis in the interview. "Today, retirees, the unemployed, the homeless, those infected with HIV or tuberculosis are also deprived of coverage," he adds. "We've noted that the budgets of certain types of care, including public aid and the treatment of certain types of diseases are slashed by cuts of up to 80%," Veizis says, denouncing the acute shortages of medical supplies, of medicine and of blood supplies. In addition, adds EUobserver, major pharmaceutical firms are refusing to deliver to certain hospitals for fear of not being paid.