Support for the Helliniko Social Dispensary in Athens

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

The Helliniko Metropolitan Social Dispensary (MKIE) in Athens is once again threatened with eviction in favour of the largest privatisation project of an urban waterfront in Europe. Helliniko SA demands, in fact, by ultimatum set for 13/03/2020 at the latest, that the dispensary leave the premises that had been granted to them by the municipality of Helliniko-Argyropolis since December 2011.

This is the second time that the dispensary has been threatened. During the first expulsion attempt, the indignation of the patients and many citizens led to a large mobilization in Greece and abroad. This mobilization had caused "Helliniko SA" to retreat. The Greek government of the time had declared that the dispensary could continue to operate at its original location at least until another suitable and easily accessible location for the patients could be found. This time, the very short time frame was probably intended to prevent the construction of a solid mobilization.

Expulsion in such a short period of time would have the effect of throwing away thousands of boxes of medicine, formula, and so on. This at a time when the dispensary provides medicines not only to the patients who go there but also to care homes, refugee and migrant reception centres and even to public institutions and hospitals, so much so that these medicines are sorely lacking on the Greek market. The expulsion would also destroy a functioning dental practice and a functioning cardiology practice, both equipped with equipment and supplies from numerous donations. Volunteers working in the dispensary, doctors, pharmacists, health care workers, devote hours of their free time to the dispensary. Expulsion would prevent them from continuing their solidarity work.

Since its foundation in 2011, the self-managed dispensary has provided free care to more than 8,000 people over 72,000 visits, an average of 1,500 treatments per month with a peak at the height of the crisis in 2014-2015. And this continues today, as Greece is supposedly out of financial guardianship, 450 to 500 people still receive care at the clinic every month. A large proportion of Greeks are still excluded from social security coverage. The Helliniko dispensary is the largest and although it is not the only dispensary in Greece at present, all of them are working at the limit of their capacity. If it closes, patients will not know where to turn.

To send your messages of solidarity:
PHONE: +30 210 9631950
ADDRESS: Former U.S. Military Base,
(200m from the traffic police station of Helliniko commune, next to the Helliniko Cultural Centre)
Postcode TK16777, Elliniko, Attiki, Greece