Lesvos: Public health care for all as a catalyser for systemic change (Greece)


Category: Public Health

Community Members: Lesvos Solidarity

Type of grant: Public Healt [ 20.000 € ]

Year: 2020

1. Who they are

Lesvos Solidarity is a local, grassroots organisation based in Lesvos, Greece. We have been supporting asylum-seekers and locals on the island of Lesvos since 2012. We formally registered as an NGO under Greek law in 2016.

Lesvos Solidarity is an assembly-run organisation. Access to employment is of enormous importance for the locals and refugees on the island. They combine first-line support for people in need (including shelter, legal, medical and psycho-social support) with integration activities and advocacy work. Lesvos Solidarity currently run:

2. What they did

To support the public health system and public health workers on the front line LeSol
used its network of donors and communicated the needs of the island to connect the
two and build a network of solidarity. The organization also reopened the clinic in
Asklepios where medication for refugees and support to the locals was offered. The clinic
remains connected with IKA (the public health center) and the local hospital and responds to
the donation requests made from the two establishments. These donations regard a
number of items required for the smooth operation of the health providers in emergency
situations. Items included containers for covid testing, medical equipment (see links
enclosed), blankets, masks, and uniforms. A new housing project was also initiated for
cases referred from the hospital. The project also operates an emergency house for
people with severe health conditions.
In addition, LeSol was able to use the funds allocated from FundAction to support
individuals’ medical cases. As supporting a local woman with the expenses of her
ongoing treatment (skin burn) or liaising for the doctor visits of a former resident of
Pikpa for her eye treatment. The latter is going blind and as LeSol’s intervention was
requested after the condition of the woman had worsened, the only possible step is now
a transplant. The organisation continues advocating for the health of the refugees and
local community and creating prosperous connections with health practitioners willing
to offer their services in solidarity.
The support to the local society was not limited to the health system, but also expanded
to establishments that house people with a high risk for covid infections. As is the
retirement house in the city. LeSol also provides free covid testing for people with
financial difficulties.

Ongoing and planned actions:

The organisation has committed to building bridges and breaking barriers. For this there are
ongoing efforts to increase the visits to villages that are further out from the city and
their residents cannot access health facilities or professionals at any given time. To
achieve this goal there is a plan to increase visits to these villages and connect the remote
areas with doctors and health professionals. The organisation is also offering assistance
to the volunteer interpreters at the hospital with language training specific to the
medical terms used. The conversation with the local hospital is also on the agenda to
assess the needs and situation at all times so to better respond and connect with powerful
institutions in Europe that can respond to the needs. LeSol continues developing housing
programs so more people can move out of the camp and in a safe environment.