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The Smile of the Child supports children with serious medical problems, in a variety of ways.  The Association’s neonatal ambulances transport critically ill children from rural areas to urban centres for treatment.  Social workers and psychologists staff the three major pediatric hospitals in Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki and Patra); and, along with volunteers provide emotional and psychological support to children and their parents, as well as creative projects to occupy the children while in hospital.  The Association’s personnel also supports children and their families by assisting with bureaucratic procedures in order to access public health care within Greece and where care is unavailable in Greece, they assist children in the procedure to find medical care in hospitals in other countries. As well, the Association financially assists children by paying for hospitalisation, medicines or medical equipment, where necessary.  


During the period from 1/1/08 up to and including 31/12/08 the Association’s department of social and psychological support assisted in 191 cases where children faced serious health problems.


From these:

  • 122  (64%)  were requests directly from private citizens  

  •   69  (36 %) were referrals from other agencies and/or organisations  

Graph 1: Percentage of request from private citizens and referrals from other agencies



The majority of medical issues were in relation to:


Oncology 15%
Neurology 14%
Cardiology 10%
Orthopaedic 7%
Haematology 8%
Ophthalmology 7%
Urology 3%
Nephrology 5%
Hearing 4%




Other illness



Graph 2: Percentage of Cases by  Medical Issue:



From the total number of medical cases referred to above:

  • 79 (45%) cases were with respect to assistance and advice on procedural matters i.e. applying for public health care etc.

  • 30 (17 %) cases were for financial assistance to cover costs of prescribed medicines.

  • 41 (23 %) cases were related to financial support for treatment of children in hospitals outside Greece or coverage of medical costs for hospitalisation in institutions within Greece.

  • 26 (15 %) cases were requests to transport children from rural areas, towns and villages to major urban centres for medical treatment.

Graph 3: Percentage by Support Type in Health Care Cases



From the 191 medical cases that the department handled in 2008, 176 (92%) cases were handled directly by the department.  In 15 cases, the department had to refer the case to another agency either because it required specialized agencies for that type of treatment or because of the age of the patient.


Moreover, during the period from 1/1/08 up to and including 31/12/08, through volunteer drives, the Association found volunteers for blood, platelets and bone marrow donations for 11 children, aged 7 months to 17 years old, and for 5 adults.

In total, 399 volunteer donors were contacted and donated blood and blood platelets.