ATHENS — Greece’s human geography is as varied as its physical geography. Urban centers along the vast coastline, towns in the mountains, and tiny island villages. Promising young athletes, elderly folks on the island of Anafi, families running together, a woman in Prespes expecting her first child. But wherever they are and whoever they are, all deserve the resources to live a healthy life.
The Mobile Medical Units (MMUs) travel over smooth roads and rough, sail in clear weather and high winds, to points across this varied landscape, reaching the people who call them home. The program, run by the nonprofit Regeneration & Progress, brings a full mobile hospital, staffed with volunteer doctors from 15 specialties, nurses, and administrative personnel, to remote areas of Greece. Rather than ask patients to travel up to 20 hours by sea and land for a routine examination or a screening at a health center, the MMUs bring the health center to them.
On the remote islands they visit, the MMU doctors meet with small numbers of children who live there year-round. Too often, these kids—despite living on an island—don’t know how to swim and lack the same access to creative play and activities as their peers elsewhere. So, the Regeneration & Progress team returns over the summer, this time with physical education teachers who get the kids moving, learning, and having fun with swimming, fencing, handball, chess, education on healthy eating, and first aid training.
Back in Athens, young high-performance athletes are looking for support in their rigorous training. The Regeneration & Progress elite sports team aids them with insights and guidance, helping them strive for their Olympic goals healthfully.
At the same time, Regeneration & Progress facilitates doctors in training other doctors to treat trauma, which is the leading cause of death in Greece for a disproportionately large age range.
The relentless and multifaceted efforts of Regeneration & Progress—in health, in sports, in education—reflect the ancient saying that joins the health of the body with the health of the mind. Health is the foundation of quality of life, and health care should be accessible to all, regardless of postal code. Mind and body, health and sports, care for today and tomorrow, all tied together in a double helix, like our own DNA.