Maria Eleni Koppa (Greece)
MEPs speak out on dementia
Maria Eleni Koppa (Greece) talks to Alzheimer Europe about the situation of people with dementia in Greece (May 2009)
Alzheimer Europe (AE): Ms Koppa, what are they key challenges that people with dementia and their carers face in Greece?
Maria Eleni Koppa (MEK): Currently there are 150.000 dementia patients in Greece. First of all, there is lack of a national action plan against Dementia. There is lack of day-care services and total of long-stay institutions. Home-based care also has to be developed. Another problem is that there are no allowance for patients and carers. There are only 6 day-care centres in the country (all run by Alzheimer’ s Associations under the 3rd European Support Framework) and no rest homes especially made for Alzheimer’s patients.
AE: Governments across Europe are starting to pay more attention to the demographic changes in our societies and the resulting increase in the number of people with dementia in the future. Are there similar discussions in your country on a governmental or parliamentary level?
MEK: Neither the Greek government nor the Greek Parliament pay much attention to the growing problem of Dementia in Greece. For the time being, they have other priorities.
AE: Do you believe that Greece will follow the example of France and create a National Alzheimer’s Plan?
MEK: There is an urgent need to get Dementia on the public and political agenda in Greece. First, evidence about the impact of Dementia haw to be estimated and both medical and social care haw to be established to meet both the patients’ and the carers’ needs. I would like very much my country to follow their example but there still a long way ahead.
AE: What do you believe should the three policy priorities be for Greek policy makers to improve the lives of people with dementia and their carers in your country?
MEK: The three policy priorities should be (1) To raise awareness and fight stigma, (2) To improve access to diagnosis and treatment and (3) To improve the quality of live of both patients and their carers
AE: Finally, a last question on the need of a European response to the growing number of people with dementia. Would you support the development of a European Action Plan in this field and, if so, what should the priorities for such a European collaboration be?
MEK: We would certainly support the development of an action plan against Dementia on a pan-European level. Collaboration and exchange of practices between European countries is very crucial. There are 21 Alzheimer’s Associations in 21 towns around Greece some of which are very active. Since February 2009 Athens Association of Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders has launched the Greek Alzheimer’s Initiative a signature collection campaign in order to make Dementia a public health priority and highlight the plight patients; and carers’ face.
Last Updated: Wednesday 14 October 2009