Strenghtening primary Medical care in IsoLated and deprived cross-border arEas


Priority axis Social inclusion
Call Restricted Call for Strategic Project Proposal under Priority Axis 3
Lead Beneficiary 4th Health District of Macedonia Thrace
Partners Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Multi-profile Hospital for Active Treatment of Ardino
National Emergency Aid Center
Municipality of Harmanli
Budget 1.498.183,32
Ensuring equitable access to high-quality primary and emergency healthcare, constitutes a key challenge for the Greek-Bulgarian Cross-Border (CB) area. This forms also one of the common objectives for EU Member States, both in the fight against social exclusion and poverty through the Social Inclusion Strategy and through the Open Method of Coordination on health and long-term care. Poverty, geographical and social exclusion are some of the most serious challenges for the health system across the Greek-Bulgarian CB area, as well as all across the EU. People living in poverty or being at risk of geographical and social exclusion are more likely to face health problems and there is evidence that they frequently do not receive the adequate care either in terms of quality (lack of/ limited medical staff and equipment) or time correspondance (applying especially in emergencies cases). 
Within this context, the overall objective of the SMiLe project is to improve the PHC services provided  to citizens in isolated and deprived CB areas in the following ways: 
a) by procuring necessary modern medical equipment appropriate to serve basic patients' PHC needs (both regular and emergencies), 
b) by studying and planning specific interventions in selected health units in the CB area, improving their accessibility by disabled people, 
c) by enhancing the capacities of the PHC practionners working in remote and isolated areas and/ or with special populations groups, 
d) by improving the response management system of emergencies services through the purchase and/ or the equipping of ambulances with special basic communication devices interconnected with the central management system
e) by developing a PHC Governance Plan encouraging the public consultation of interested parties as well as the evaluation of PHC services by the citizens
The SMiLe Project is planned to be primarly beneficial for the CB population located at remote and isolated areas without discriminations,  while PHC Practitionners working in the territory will be also benefited through their participation in targeted project activities. The main project outputs are (i) the upgrading of 6 PHC units and 3 small hospitals all located in remote and disadvantaged CB territories (Paranesti, Nevrokopi, Echinos, Stavroupoli, Iasmos, Soufli, Didimoticho, Ardino and Harmanli), (ii) the creation and operation of a modern Training Center for PHC Practitionners, (iii) a set of studies focusing on the improvement of the accessibility in selected Healthcare Units in the CB area, including the preparation of a toolbox for Equal Health Provision and (iv) the development and operation of an IT Platform for the evaluation of PHC Services.
The originality and the added value of the SMiLe project lies on its cross-border joint planning and development approach, aiming to the provision of quality and equality of PHC services accessible to all citizens overpassing the geographical, social and mobility contraints.

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