Given the great need of primary care and health security of both guests and public health in general, as part of our policy of a standard reception, temporary hospitality and (social, job) refugee integration, we have set up a set of services and health-reception, so as WELCOMMON can operate safely, to the benefit of both refugees and local community.
There are 3 levels of health services we offer within WELCOMMON in our own space, having appropriately configured a “social clinic”:
- Promoting good health of the guests, screening their health status, maintaining their medical records (confidential) file with all relevant information, daily information / counseling about any health problems of those attending the social clinic, references to health structures according to the seriousness of each case, childhood vaccination planning and Mantoux tests, health monitoring in case of serious problems, hygiene and cleanliness training, how to breastfeed and take care of infants or children seminars, support for the disabled and elderly and more. The nursing service on a daily basis accepts in the “social clinic” the guests who face respiratory infections, skin diseases and possible injuries, organizes visits to the rooms for formal checks, many emergency medical evacuations, scheduled or not visits to maternity hospitals, escorts for outpatient appointments in clinics or hospitals for examinations of various kinds.
The nursing service also checks daily for drug deficiencies and has many other responsibilities that come up continuously.
- Mantoux tests for all guests regardless of age.
- Vaccination planning required by Greek legislation, as long as there is no evidence that they have actually been done (we have a special form based on the WHO guidelines with the vaccines and the date they have been made).
We also arrange appointments of hosted refugees in hospitals, maternity hospitals, health facilities, and escorts if they cannot go on their own. In any case, we provide doctors with all the necessary medical information from their medical records file and we have interpreters to help doctors and nurses in public structures facilitate their work.
Today, the staff working at WELCOMMON includes one (1) nurse and one (1) midwife.
Given the various existing needs and the services we offer, we have developed systematic collaborations with other health service providers (doctors of ADDMA, Doctors Without Borders, public health system, social clinics) outside of WELCOMMON and we often host Arabic volunteer doctors in cooperation with Syria-Greece Union.
On July 20, Wind of Renewal and the Spanish Red Cross (SRC) signed a cooperation agreement within the #WELCOMMON hosting and refugee integration program. It has duration up to 31.12.2017 and according to the agreement Wind of Renewal will host at WELCOMMON, 2 or 3 times per week, a RED CROSS MEDICAL MOBILE UNIT team of the Spanish Red Cross, staffed by a general practitioner, nurse and Arabic interpreter in order to strengthen the health services we offer to the hosted refugees. Our cooperation with the Spanish Red Cross is in line with the 7 basic principles governing the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC): Humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, unity and ecumenism.
So far, many medical issues have been addressed successfully and in good time, always with the assistance of the interpreters as well as with the collaboration of the social service. Without our early intervention, it may have been a fatal outcome for some cases.
The operation of the “social clinic” within WELCOMMON is not only for refugees, we are dealing with it as a proposal for social innovation to provide primary health care and to develop a “community health” model suitable for neighborhoods, villages and small towns. The aim is both to prevent and provide primary care that can improve health of citizens and reduce pressure on hospitals, which often undertake to provide primary care services at a very high cost. We are willing to transfer our experience to others as long as there is purpose and willingness to use such initiatives for promoting social changes that will help the country and society to emerge from crisis.