An Update from Lesvos

Since September 2018, Kitrinos Healthcare has been working seven days per week in Camp Moria, the largest and most notorious camp on the island of Lesvos. We are the only medical actors operating on weekends in both Moria and Kara Tepe refugee camps, so Saturdays and Sundays in our clinics are always especially busy. This weekend, our doctors attended to pregnant women, young children, and multiple complex and urgent cases. Every weekend we see patients with self-inflicted wounds, injuries due to fights, and chronic illnesses.

Sometimes, residents are too sick to get to our clinic - this Sunday we were called to the tent of a woman in distress who we then had to move by wheelchair to our clinic, which was not easy due to the tight living quarters and uneven terrain. However, once we were able to get her into the clinic, we began her medical treatment immediately.

A common problem for refugees is running out of their required medicine. Often those with chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, or asthma arrive in Greece without their medication, having ran out before their arrival or having lost it at sea on their way here. Because of this, we see many patients who have had to go without vital treatment for days or weeks, and as a result have become very unwell.

Good medical practice means being able to know our limits in our clinic, and judging when extensive medical care is needed. Over the weekend, we had to send three patients, including a young child and two pregnant women, to the large hospital in the city centre for specialised treatment.

This week we are prepared to face one of our busiest stretches, as Greece will have three holidays. On these holidays, not only are the other daytime medical NGOs closed, but hospitals on the island work limited hours. This means that for five full days, we will once again be the only healthcare provider operating during the day in both camps.

Despite this challenge, Kitrinos has become adept at providing excellent healthcare, even in times of chaos and limited resources. The priority, as always, is to make sure we do our best by our patients, with the knowledge that tomorrow will bring new and unique challenges.

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