Introduction and overview of SNF’s Health Initiative
Thursday June 23, 09:10, Lobby NLG
Andreas Dracopoulos, SNF Co-President
Panagiotis Koulouvaris, Associate Professor of the First Orthopedic Clinic, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens; President of Regeneration & Progress; SNF Health Consultant
Charalambos Roussos, SNF Health Consultant
Marios Themistokleous, General Secretary of Primary Health Care, Hellenic Ministry of Health
The construction of three new hospitals in Thessaloniki, Komotini, and Sparta is currently the largest component of the SNF Health Initiative, a $750 million effort.
SNF Co-President Andreas Dracopoulos referred to this important initiative, emphasizing that, although the Foundation has made grants in over 135 countries, Greece is the focus because it is a wounded society. "We are not here to replace the government, we are here to work with any government in office in a bid to help people," Dracopoulos said.
Panagiotis Koulouvaris, President of Regeneration & Progress and SNF Health Advisor, then took the floor and made a special reference to the work of the Mobile Medical Units.
After eight years and dozens of missions, the mobile teams have established themselves as the epitome of public-private partnership. "We organize three missions a month, which is a huge relief for the remote populations in our country." He said that over 40,000 patients have been examined, over 89,000 appointments have been made, over 60,000 mammograms have been performed, and over 500 field surgeries have been carried out, all of which translates into a cost reduction of more than 20 million euros for the public sector. As Koulouvaris noted, the mobile units created a culture of excellence, where everyone is involved. The mobile units do not merely have four or five consultants making decisions. They work as a team whose members are empowered by the mapping of processes. Physicians can practice their specialty and are given room to rapidly innovate. Importantly, he said that they have been keeping electronic patient records since 2014, and the team has gone on to develop an app for iOS and Android enabling patients to access their diagnostic tests at any time. Finally, Koulouvaris referred to the high levels of patient satisfaction. He said that 5,000 questionnaires were distributed to patients, with more than 90% reporting the services of the mobile units are excellent. Coupled with respondents who reported being merely satisfied by these services, patient satisfaction rates shoot up to 95%.
Next, Charalambos Roussos, a scientist who helped launch the Health Initiative, took the floor. "Through the Health Initiative and the stepping up of our efforts brought on by the pandemic, SNF, in collaboration with other donors, has managed to help increase the number of ICU beds in the country, from 5 per 100,000 population to 12 per 100,000. Creating infrastructure that will help us over time is essential," Roussos emphasized.
On the three Renzo Piano-designed new hospitals, he expressed confidence that they will completely transform the health care landscape. The pediatric hospital in Thessaloniki will be equipped with 247 inpatient beds and 33 ICU beds; the hospital in Komotini will have a capacity of 180 inpatient beds, 8 ICU beds, and 14 beds which are convertible to ICU beds if necessary. Finally, the hospital in Sparta is expected to have 164 inpatient beds, 8 ICU beds, and 12 beds readily convertible to ICU if needed.
In his speech he highlighted the importance of this infrastructure over time, as the landscape in Greece changes to keep in line with medical developments. The three brand-new, top-quality hospitals are designed to help in this direction.
Regarding training, Roussos noted that during the pandemic it appeared that the standards and the average ICU training and practice levels were not at a very high. As of now, a program for which the preliminary study activities have already been completed has been developed; it starts in July.
Finally, Marios Themistocleous, representing the Greek government and the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, cordially thanked the Foundation for everything: the Initiative, the new hospitals, the support provided to the National Emergency Aid Center (EKAV) including the procurement of air ambulances, the ICUs, and the help provided during the pandemic. But he stressed that the most important thing for him and the Greek government is that all these donations help the country take one step ahead. They are not just money. They are part of the National Health Service planning process that lay the foundations for the country's future health system.