As doctors and citizens, we have the obligation to respond and to advocate for the protection of health and health care. As a consequence, we cannot ignore the fact that the health of people in Greece has worsened to unacceptable levels. The statistics are appalling and clearly show that the collapse of the Greek economy and of its health system, and the impoverishment of people,  is hitting the most vulnerable and those who cannot be held responsible for the crisis. Children are dying; according to the Lancet, infant mortality went up by 43% between 2008 and 2010, while the rate of low birth weight increased by 19%, due to the reduction of antenatal care and the consequent worsening of maternal health. Medicines are in short supply, HIV steps up again, life expectancy goes down.

We cannot keep quiet; we must speak up and clearly state that people’s health comes first. Greek citizen must be defended, protected, treated, rehabilitated, cured, for a society that grows healthy.

We call for the highest priority to wariness and action upon the current health tragedy in the ongoing negotiations between the Greek government and the EU institutions. We urge that the former be given the possibility to act for the recovery of fundamental rights, such as the right to health, as promised to and wished by the Greek people.

We refer also to article 35 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, ratified by all the Member States, when it states that:

“A high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all the Union’s policies and activities.”

Italian Global Health Watch

March 10, 2015