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Impact of the Refugee Crisis on the Greek Healthcare System: A Long Road to Ithaca

Respiratory Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Thessaly, Biopolis, 41500 Larissa, Greece
International Business Department, Perrotis College, 57001 Thessaloniki, Greece
Inselspital, University Hospital Bern, 3010 Bern, Switzerland
Metsovion Interdisciplinary Research Center, National Technical University of Athens, 44200 Athens, Greece
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(8), 1790;
Received: 24 June 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 20 August 2018 / Published: 20 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Refugee, Migrant and Ethnic Minority Health)
Greece is the country of “Xenios Zeus”, the Ancient Greek god of foreigners and hospitality; however, it is also the main point of entry to Europe. Since the beginning of 2014, 1,112,332 refugees crossed the borders of Greece. Overall, 33,677 children and adolescent refugees sought asylum in Greece from 2013 to 2017, while 57,042 refugees are currently being hosted. The rapid entry of refugees into Greece raised the critical issue of health policy. The Greek National Health Service (NHS) faces many challenges. Adequate economic and human support is essential if this situation is to be managed successfully. However, Greece still bears the burden of the economic downturn since 2009. In fact, the crisis led to shortages in crucial equipment, and unmet health needs for both locals and refugees. The NHS deals with traumatic experiences, as well as cultural and linguistic differences. Overcrowded reception centers and hotspots are highly demanding and are associated with severe disease burden. This highlights the importance of guidelines for medical screening, healthcare provision, and a well-managed transition to definitive medical facilities. Furthermore, non-governmental organizations make an essential contribution by ensuring appropriate support to refugee minors, especially when they experience poor access to the NHS. View Full-Text
Keywords: economic crisis; Greece; migration; National Health System; refugee economic crisis; Greece; migration; National Health System; refugee
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Kotsiou, O.S.; Kotsios, P.; Srivastava, D.S.; Kotsios, V.; Gourgoulianis, K.I.; Exadaktylos, A.K. Impact of the Refugee Crisis on the Greek Healthcare System: A Long Road to Ithaca. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 1790.

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