January 2014. The Non-Profit Company “Symplisi” is created with the aim of supporting and improving the living conditions of the inhabitants of the Greek remote islands, by providing free medical examinations, organizing educational and cultural activities and creating infrastructure projects in local communities.
April 2016. 12 inflatable boats and 1 support boat, 400 nautical miles, 83 volunteers of which 42 doctors and 4 nurses, 20 medical specialties.
This year’s cruise begins. Our stations are the remote islands of the Aegean: Kimolos, Folegandros, Sikinos, Schinoussa, Levitha, Patmos, Arkioi, Lipsi, Agathonisi.
In most of them specialized medical examinations such as hematological, ultrasound, gynecological, ophthalmological etc. are not carried out, due to lack of specialist doctors and equipment in health centers. In others, things get more difficult, as the nearest doctor is on a neighboring island, which is difficult or impossible to access in winter. Within 10 days we offered the highest but hardly accessible good of health to the inhabitants of these islands.
But our action did not stop there… Coordinated cultural and educational activities on smoking, human relations, geometric art, storytelling and shadow theater took place as part of our visit to the islands.
Again, however, we did not stop there… With the help of our sponsors, we implemented infrastructure projects on all the islands, such as the construction of multipurpose fields in Kimolos and Lipsos, the renovation of two playgrounds in Agathonisi, the donation of a garbage truck in Agathonisi and an emergency transport vehicle Sikino, shelters for passengers in Arkios and Agathonisi as well as furniture and equipment of the “Patmi” Cultural – Cultural Center, while all schools were given educational, training and electronic materials.
Our goal was to close the distance with our acrites and to be close to them, to alleviate their pain and to offer them as much as we can.
In this year, the dentists had the opportunity, in addition to clinical examinations and preventive treatments, to carry out therapeutic operations and to meet the needs of the inhabitants of the remote islands. Young and old gathered daily outside our door, which was sometimes the door of a school classroom and sometimes a room of the island’s health center or town hall. In Folegandros, in particular, we felt “at home” since the island’s dental clinic was equipped and offered by the Symphysis during last year’s cruise, with the kind sponsorship of the Andrea Petraki family. Some were driven by pain and others by their long abstinence from the dental chair. Some patients were free of findings while most needed comprehensive treatment. Our guideline was to deal first with the acute incidents and then as many residents as possible.
And so it happened. A total of 150 residents were examined, in which 123 interventional dental operations were performed (12 extractions, 55 occlusions, 19 fluoridations, 33 abrasions, 4 adhesions of prosthetic restorations), while oral hygiene instructions were given to all residents without exception. The range of these therapeutic actions would be limited without the mobile dental unit, courtesy of the Piraeus Dental Association. The costs for the tools and consumables we used were covered by the proceeds of the annual dance of the Ensemble, while they were carefully packed by members of our team in boxes and bags in order to reach the islands safely.
The inhabitants of all the islands hosted us and took care of us in the best possible way. They did not miss the opportunity to thank us for our offer on the island, sometimes with large tables organized by the municipality in our honor and sometimes with kisses of the residents during our surgeries. However, the biggest reward for us was the smiles on their faces and the heartfelt “thank you” they said as they left our office. Even when we left the island, they led us to the dock and greeted us with all their hearts shouting “we are waiting for you next year!”. And yes, we will be there next year, because these people and these smiles are the motivation and strength for our effort and work.
The annual crossing is the culmination of our actions, but all the preparation is done throughout the year from our homes, offices and clinics. Each of us takes on responsibilities and together we coordinate, collaborate and join in this journey of humanity.
A journey that only with words and images is impossible to capture. A journey that will never be forgotten by any of us. The journey called “Combination”.
The dentists of the Complex
Thanos D., Giorgos M., Stenakia K., Melina M., Elli-Anna K.
“The magazine of the Dental Association Piraeus, ISSUE 5, JANUARY – FEBRUARY-MARCH 2016, page 20-21”