The Mount Athos Foundation of America has sent a donation to the Mount Athos Health Center on Mount Athos to support the purchase of COVID-19 diagnostic equipment and supplies. As the monasteries of the Holy Mountain re-open to accept limited numbers of pilgrims, this small medical clinic serving the Holy Community needs to prepare for possible new exposure to the pandemic.

Mount Athos Health Center in Karyes, Greece

Mount Athos has already seen its first few cases of Covid-19, carried to the Holy Mountain from the U.K. earlier this Spring. The fathers affected have all recovered, and this potential source of spread to the Athonite monasteries was stopped before it could advance further. Now Mount Athos is reopening has reopened and the monasteries are beginning to accept pilgrims on a limited-access program. Reopening means that the risk of spread of the virus on the Holy Mountain is renewed, and the Medical Clinic in the Mount Athos capital, Karyes, needs to prepare. MAFA is pleased to announce that it has made a grant to the Karyes Clinic via its sister organization, Supporters of Athonite and Monastic Medicine (SAMM), to provide for the needs of the Karyes Clinic to achieve pandemic readiness.

Treatment room – for EMS & minor surgical procedures May, 2020.

The Health Center in Karyes functions under the Ministry of Health and the National Health System in Greece and is publicly funded. It receives no private pay for services from that Ministry, however, nor from any non-government insurance. Because both government funds and the procedures for requesting additional funds are often inadequate even under normal circumstances, SAMM seeks occasional donations on behalf of the Clinic. Clinic needs are usually for day to day functions that may include materials, reference books, electronic databases, and other general supplies and equipment not provided by Greek governmental agencies. The Health Center is staffed by a rotation of physicians, nurses, paramedics, and lab techs. Lab techs can draw blood and now, since the move into the new Health Center building, perform x-rays. The clinic is staffed by fully licensed physicians, nurses, and paramedics according to Greek and European Union laws and provisions.

A patient room at the Mount Athos Health Center, May, 2020.

As the Holy Mountain reopens, the Karyes Clinic needed to obtain equipment and supplies for the initial clinical diagnosis and treatment of patients being examined for potential COVID-19. These include such items as oximeters, remote thermometers, swabs, and related supplies for conducting tests. The Clinic staff will then be equipped to diagnose, isolate, and supportively manage new COVID-19 cases, either at the Clinic or in the monasteries. Labs are drawn and swabs were taken in Karyes or in one of the Monasteries, and are then sent outside of Mount Athos for analysis. Likewise, patients whose symptoms are severe are removed transferred to hospitals in Thessaloniki. MAFA and SAMM thank all those donors who contributed to the MAFA’s Mount Athos Emergency Aid Fund, which has provided this grant to cover the equipment and supplies needed by the Karyes Clinic.

Health center reception area

Health center medical exam room

Health center dental room