On World Health Day on April 7, health workers across Greece marked the Day of Panhellenic Action for Health on a call given by the Federation of Greek Hospital Doctors’ Associations (OENGE). They demanded state support, including adequate funds, staff and resources, for the fight against COVID-19 in the country. Several trade unions, including the All Workers Militant Front (PAME), and the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) expressed solidarity with the health workers and actively participated in the demonstrations at various places.
As per reports, health workers mobilized around hospitals and clinics in Athens, Thessaloniki, Alexandroupolis, Xanthi, Heraklion, Lamia, Corfu, Chania and Chios, among other cities and towns in the country. There were also instances of police repression at places, including at the Evangelismos Athens General Hospital.
OENGE, in a statement following the mobilization, denounced the conservative New Democracy (ND) government and alleged that for the second time in three months, police forces were sent to suppress their demonstrations.
“They failed to silence us. The covered mouths have a voice. And today this voice was heard loudly,” said OENGE.
Secretary-general of the KKE Central Committee, Dimitris Koutsoumbas said, “We unite our voice with the employees in the hospitals, in the health structures that are in the front line of the battle, so that the people stand up strong from this ordeal.”
He also demanded the mass recruitment of permanent doctors, nurses and other health professionals, along with the required provisioning of clinics, ICU beds, laboratory equipment and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for healthcare providers. He also called for the healthcare staff to be included in the state plan to address the crisis.
In its statement, PAME accused the EU and the governments in the region of having undermined public healthcare and endangering the lives of workers. “They try to secure the profits of the multinationals, risking the health of the workers and destroying our rights,” the statement said.
As of April 8, over 1,832 people have contracted COVID-19 in Greece and 81 people have died.