CANCER PREVENTION AND MANAGEMENT MOBILE UNIT IN ALEXANDROUPOLI

After 3 years of activity across Greece, Kapa3 continues its efforts to tackle lack of access of cancer patients to information and support services. Our growing experience from the field revealed urgent gaps in the region of Thrace. It is an area with specific challenges – many remote villages, large distances, poor road network, with population heterogeneity – several  ethnic & religious minorities, incl. one of the largest Muslim communities in Greece, with lack of information and interventions, that address cancer comprehensively – e.g., focus on prevention, patient rights, and psychological support.

Moreover, the Alexandroupolis hospital receives over 100 cancer patients every day – there are complex, heavily bureaucratic procedures inside and outside the hospital – while high levels of digital and health illiteracy act as barriers to accessing patient rights. 

At the first Kapa3 Mobile Unit in Theagenio Cancer Hospital in Thessaloniki, it became clear how a large number of patients from the regions of Evros (Thrace) come to Theageneio every day for examinations and treatments, traveling a long distance and burdening them with additional out-of-pocket costs. Feedback from collaborators and relevant stakeholders also revealed that this population were incompletely informed both about cancer awareness and prevention measures and about the health and social support services that exist in the region of Thrace and could potentially support them.

The new Cancer Prevention and Management Mobile Unit in Alexandroupoli is a continuation of the successful Units in Thessaloniki, which are located in the Theagenio Cancer Hospital and also in Pylea, at the “Nikos Kourkoulos” Day Care Unit.

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The Unit is hosted at a specially designed area of the University General Hospital of Alexandroupolis, where the Kapa3 team members meet with cancer patients or caregivers, record every request and undertake its full processing.

Our goal is to fully inform patients and their families, in order to ensure equal access to health structures, the assertion of their rights, as well as their social reintegration.

The team consists of a social support officer as the project manager, final year students of the Democritus University (Department of Social Work) who undertake internships with Kapa3, as well as a number of volunteer health professionals.

The Unit’s major sponsor is the TIMA Charitable Foundation.

At the University General Hospital of Alexandroupolis, Alexandroupolis, Draganas, 68100
1st building, 1st floor in the Oncology Clinic – Rapid Hospitalization Office Kapa3, located opposite the Secretariat of the oncology unit.

Contact us at

Phone number: +30 6976599184 (8:00- 14:00)

E-mail: k3alex@kapa3.gr

The unit consists of a social worker, who is responsible for the management and direct communication with cancer patients and/or their caregivers. This role involves informing beneficiaries about their social rights, social exemptions and benefits, and how to claim them. At the same time, it supports patients in all kinds of bureaucratic procedures, both inside and outside of the hospital setting.

In addition, the Unit is staffed by two students of the Department of Social Work of Democritus University and a number of volunteers who contribute daily to the work in every way.

The Mobile Prevention and Management Unit in Alexandroupolis is implemented with the help of the Association of Cancer Patients and Friends of Evros “SynexiZO”.

The “SynexiZO” association help us acclimatize to the local settings , to identify specific problems faced by the patients of Thrace and choose the most effective way of guiding patients. We share the same vision with the “SynexiZO” association, one of a civil society with equal access to health services and full awareness of the rights of people affected by cancer.

Together we work to enhance our outward looking and provide support for every cancer patient and their carers in every part of Thrace.

More information about “SynexiZO” can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/synexizo.gr/?locale=el_GR

The new Cancer Prevention and Management Mobile Unit of Kapa3 was created within the University General Hospital of Alexandroupolis (PGNA), which serves the entire region of Thrace. Every day, it is called to serve more than 100 patients of Greek and non-Greek origin, as the region is characterized by population heterogeneity. The hospital has modern facilities and experienced staff, a variety of clinics, especially for cancer patients. In just one month of its operation, the Unit responded to over 100 patients’ requests.

In March 2023, Kapa3 launched a new “Cancer Prevention and Management  Mobile Unit” within the University General Hospital of Alexandroupolis with the support of the University Hospital of Alexandroupolis, the Association of Cancer Patients and Friends of N. Evros “SynexiZO”, the International Hellenic University and the Democritus University of Thrace. The Unit’s major sponsor is the TIMA Charitable Foundation and is additionally supported by Roche Hellas.

By taking ONE STEP AT A TIME, we try to have NO ONE left behind!

A Press Conference was held on April 5, 2023 in Alexandroupolis. You can find out more about it here: https://www.kapa3.gr/osa-eipothikan-stin-synenteyxi-typoy-gia-tin-enarxi-tis-kinitis-monadas-toy-kapa3-stin-alexandroypoli/

The Mobile “Prevention and Management” Unit of Kapa3 within the General Hospital of Alexandroupolis (PGNA) has been in operation for 3 months, accompanied by the first evaluation of the whole action in the area. The results are encouraging and were discussed at length with the Governor of the PGA, Mr. Evangelos Roufos, in a face-to-face meeting with the Head of Development and Operations of Kapa3, Mrs. Evangeli Bista.

The Kapa3 team served 254 patients between 15 March and 15 June 2023.
This number increased rapidly while, of particular interest, are the socio-demographic data of the beneficiaries and the multitude of different requests to the Kapa3 team.

On June 13th, the Head of Development and Operations of the Kapa3 – Cancer Guidance Center, Ms. Evangeli Bista, visited our Mobile “Prevention and Management” Unit based at the University General Hospital of Alexandroupolis. Ms. Bista, along with the social worker of the Mobile Unit, Nakopoulou Zenovia, held a meeting with the Director of the General Hospital, Mr. Roufos Evangelos, where a review of our work for the three months of operation and presence in the Oncology Clinic of the General Hospital was discussed.

A social impact assessment was carried out and statistics on the number of beneficiaries and their needs were provided. Feedback was given on the cooperation with the hospital’s human resources and on the difficulties encountered since the launch of the program. In addition, the need to continue the program and to support patients and other clinics was discussed.
The meeting continued with the presence of the Rector of the Democritus University of Thrace, Mr. Maris Fotios, in an excellent and fruitful atmosphere, while both the physician of Pulmonology and Professor of Intensive Care, Mr. Pnevmatikos Ioannis and the Deputy Director, Mr. Konstantinos Gotsidis were present.

Then a visit was made to the Multi-social Center of Social Protection of Alexandroupolis, and an introduction was made to the President Mr. Christos Gkougoulakis, while the work of the Kapa3 Organization and the way the that the Mobile Unit operates within the Oncology Clinic of the Hospital were described. There was a fruitful discussion about the way of operation and services of the Multi-social Center of Social Protection of Alexandroupolis, as well as the channel of cooperation with Kapa3. The meeting was held in the presence of the Head Manager, Mrs. Stergatou Apostolia, and with representatives of the social services, Mrs. Tsare Parthena – Head of the Department for the disables, Mrs. Dora Tzambazi – Social Worker of the Community Centre and Mrs. Dasaklaki Vasiliki – Social Worker from “Help at Home”.

Kapa3 visited the headquarters of the Society of Social Psychiatry P. Sakellaropoulos. A meeting was held with Ms. Valentini Bochtsou – Psychologist, Ms. Nasia Papadoudi – Psychologist, and Ms. Sophia Dogiamazi – Administrative Officer, where the work of the Organization and the way the Mobile Prevention and Management Unit operates were presented. There was also a discussion on how the two services can cooperate.

The Kapa3 team met the President of the Pharmaceutical Association, Mr. Malakis Athanasios, Mrs. Anastasia Sinapidou, and Archondidou Aristea – Associates of the Pharmaceutical Association of Evros. The discussion was about the organization of the Public Health Week of the Evros Region, which will take place in September 2023.

Finally, a meeting was held with our fellow traveler and partner, the Association of Cancer Patients and Friends of Evros “SynexiZO”, specifically with the President of the Association, Ms. Tasoula Spyridou, and Aristea Archondidou – Member of the Board of Directors of the Association, where the next plan for our actions was established.

The actions throughout Greece for the Kapa3 team are continuing!

Our role is on the front line, where the patients and the caregivers are simultaneously cared for. The social inequalities that are observed require immediate action and the role of civil society actors is essential to address and normalize all these situations. It is particularly promising that so many actors have joined forces in the vision and operation of the Kapa3.

Be assured that TOGETHER we can succeed.

The action is being implemented with the kind sponsorship of TIMA Charitable Foundation, the cooperation of the Association “SynexiZO”, the General University Hospital of Alexandroupolis, and Roche’s Hellas support.

At this year’s Healthcare Business Awards 2023, in another glittering ceremony at Boussias Events where excellence in innovation, healthcare, digital technologies, and investments was rewarded, the Kapa3 team was awarded for its efforts to highlight social support for oncology patients as a key pillar of their
holistic care, as we strongly believe that it should be appropriate and sufficient and provided promptly by the right person.

Kapa3 was awarded for its overall contribution in its 3.5 years of operation, its persistent and painstaking efforts to achieve equal and universal access for the population, and the creation of frontline engagement groups.

Among the 3 awards, the action of the Mobile  Prevention and Management Unit of Kapa3, operating within the Alexandroupolis University General Hospital, won the Silver Award, in the category “Quality of Services & Patient Care”. The Mobile Unit within the General Hospital of Alexandroupolis has been operating since March 2023, having managed to serve more than 500 beneficiary patients and caregivers, while the results and evaluation of the services provided by Kapa3 are extremely encouraging.

The partnership and cooperation of the Cancer Guidance Centre-Kapa3, with the University General Hospital and the Association of Cancer Patients and Friends of Evros “Synechizo” has already proven its potential in the context of holistic treatment of oncological patients in the region of Thrace, upgrading the quality of
health services. Health services are, for us, perhaps the most sensitive part of social policy in an organized state. The provision of quality services to the recipients requires an integrated, coherent, and effective model of healthcare delivery and is a function of many factors that require constant monitoring and evaluation.

A huge thank you to both our excellent partners and the sponsors of the Mobile Unit who helped to make our vision a reality!

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