Axion Hellas mission provides medical care for remote island communities

April 17, 2019

The Hellenic Initiative Australia has welcomed the successful completion of Axion Hellas’ mission to four remote islands, which provided preventive and specialist health care to more than 650 people.

Supported by an AU$50,000 grant from The Hellenic Initiative Australia, Axion Hellas’ volunteer medical team operated medical clinics between 6-13 April on the Dodecanese islands of Astypalea, Tilos, Halki and Kastellorizo.

Axion Hellas in Tilos

People living in these isolated communities have limited access to basic health care and hospitals with specialist medical services.

The Axion Hellas medical team included 43 doctors (of about 23 medical subspecialties), 11 nurses and allied health professionals and support personnel.  

Residents had access to specialist doctors and a comprehensive range of medical examinations, including blood tests, breast examinations, dental checks and ultrasounds. More than 2500 medical tests were conducted during the mission. Home visits were also conducted on all islands for less mobile residents.

THI Australia President, Nicholas Pappas AM commended the Axion Hellas volunteer team for their support and dedication to providing residents of these isolated islands access to critical preventive health care.

Families visiting the clinic in Kastellorizo

“For all their beauty, Greece’s isolated islands present many difficulties for their permanent residents, particularly during the harsh winters and even more so for the elderly. 

“Simple things like getting your eyes checked or an ultrasound can be a costly exercise involving days of travel. As well as a full range of free medical and dental checks, Axion Hellas’ optical team can make glasses on-the-spot,” Mr Pappas said.

This is the second consecutive year that The Hellenic Initiative Australia has supported Axion Hellas. More than 500 people in the remote communities of Psara and Volissos (Chios) received health care In September 2018, following a $50,000 grant from THI Australia.

Axion Hellas volunteer medical team in Halki

As well as medical care, Axion Hellas’ missions include cultural, educational and volunteer activities organised by a range of partner not-for-profits, as well as delivering infrastructure projects such as new playgrounds and sporting facilities.  A highlight of this mission was a moving, intimate concert by Alkistis Protopsalti in Kastellorizo on the final night of the mission.

“The impact of Axion Hellas’ mission will be felt on these islands long after they have left their shores,” said Mr Pappas.

Axion Hellas was in Astypalea (population 1334) on 6-7 April, followed by Tilos (pop. 780) on 9 April, Halki (pop. 478) on 10-11 April and Kastellorizo (pop. 492) on 12-13 April 2019. 

This was Axion Hellas’ 7thsea crossing since it was established in 2016.