Medical assistance to refugees in camp Vial on Chios. Security measures at refugees’ disembarkation. Work in the outpatient clinic and ambulance
Why did we help in Greece?
In 2015, about 800,000 people from Turkey made their way to the Greek islands. In the following years that number decreased to approx. 32,000 in 2018.
Between 2013 and 2019, 6,191 people lost their lives while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea from the Middle East and North Africa to Europe. More than 13,000 people are considered missing.
The Vial camp is one of the many camps on the Greek island of Chios, intended for people awaiting a decision on international protection. In 2018 there was only one hospital on the island - for 60,000 locals and about 3,000 refugees. There was just one doctor that worked at the Vial camp, employed by the Greek authorities.
There were, of course, some pleasant moments, too. Amazing joy of a young boy with asthma when he got an inhaler for which he had waited several weeks.
How did we help in Greece?
Our doctors and volunteers went to the site to help the Salvamento Maritimo Humanitario organisation which is the only organisation outside Greece that has permission to carry out medical activities in the Vial camp and to provide medical support services when refugees disembark from pontoons and come ashore.
Apart from regular consultations in the camp, they provided medical services in the form of ambulance service (during the night hours). They provided medical support at a total of 20 disembarkations and were on duty from 10pm to 8am at the camp clinic (emergency interventions).
GP Magdalena Kopczyńska, nurse Joanna Frątczak, neurologist Anna Kozak-Sykała and doctor Andrzej Sykała spent 8 weeks on Chios (including the period between Christmas and New Year).
weeks of work
in the outpatient clinic and the ambulance service
doctors from Poland
taking care of refugees
medical support actions
at disembarkation of refugees
Greece 2018, photo: Polish Medical Mission
Who did we help?
We provide medical care for pregnant women and small children. In the Middle East, we help refugees in camps. Learn the stories of people we support around the world.
Hebe had olive eyes that lacked confidence; that is how I remembered them when I first saw her. And a pink and white jumper that she got before the war when Hebe could run to her school and to a baklava shop in Aleppo. February 2017: Hebe is 12 years old and is living in Turkey with her uncle who fled from Syria. She does not run anymore because she had no legs; she had them torn off by a bomb. In Turkey, she was supposed to get prostheses, made of foam rubber, with heavy feet of plaster. She could not even stand on them, she developed a curved spine. Hebe could be my daughter! I thought: Hebe must have legs... Originally, the operation was meant to be in Poland but Hebe did not have a passport or the slightest chance to get one because her parents were stuck in Syria. However, it worked well for her – they signed consent for their daughter’s passport. Hebe would not be allowed to travel on her own or with her uncle. She did not travel with her grandmother either even though she had a passport and got across the border to Turkey because the consul refused to grant her a visa to enter Poland. We wrote letters to the prime minister and the president. We appealed to the media. And a miracle happened! ‘Hello, the government has granted funding for the prostheses for Hebe but we need to have them made in Turkey,' said the consul. January 2018: back in Turkey, under those stairs where Hebe slid on her bottom a year ago. Now she was walking, carefully lifting her legs and looking straight into my eyes. A tall and smiley girl.
Who helped in Greece?
We are one of the few Polish non-governmental organizations that provide medical assistance. We help where the needs are the greatest. Our assistance is long-term – it brings permanent changes in the communities we support.
Polish Medical Mission
Polish Medical Mission
The Association’s own resources with the support of Donors.
Salvamento Maritimo Humanitario
The Spanish organisation Salvamento Maritimo Humanitario was established in response to the humanitarian crisis in the Aegean Sea in November 2015. It helps people who risk their lives to cross the sea in search of a safe place.
Medical aid. Permanent changes. Local partner.
Build aid with us in the neediest countries of the world.
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