Year of Establishment: 1974
President of the Association: Kostas Papageorgiou
Board: Dimitrios Kakalis, Efstathia Tsakona, Christos Katranis, Emmanuel Kousoulis, Giorgos Angeleas, Vsiliki Sampali.
The Panhellenic Association for Protection of Patients with Mediterranean Anaimia (ΠΕΠΠΑΜΑ - PEPPAMA) is the oldest association for Thalassaemia not only in Greece but in the World.Its activities in Greece started from the action of the parents of patients towards the end of the 1960’s and officially in 1974, as the formation of associations was prohibited during the duration of the dictatorship. In those difficult times a few brave individuals came forward demanding rights for a situation, which at the time, as the doctors were saying, was considered a “lost cause”. However, our faith and vision was so strong that we effected unbelievable achievements. We will list only a few of these because we must respect the wishes of EOTHA for a laconic article.
- Activities of the association for the establishment of Thalassaemia Units with permanent doctors for therapy.
- During the 1970’s with efforts of the association we achieved the gift and purchase of the block of land, on which, during the 1990’s, was built the building that today houses the Thalassaemia Units of the NPAS and provides service for over 800 patients.
- Struggles within and without parliament for free treatment despite the huge resistance they had then. A major effort was made with achieving the free provision of Desferal and all the consumables for all the patients.
- Attendance at conferences outside of Greece and invitation of academics to Greece in order for us to be informed about the most recent advances and to allow us to demand these to be activated in Greece. We provided economic support and scholarships to scientists for post graduate education and to attend educational conferences. Annual economic support to the Federation of Volunteer Blood donors.
- Entry to university without examinations for patients. Establishment of provincial associations in order to have greater power to address huge problems because there was reluctance to treat because of bias that existed particularly in the provinces.
- In 1981 the patients established the association PASPAMA (ΠΑΣΠΑΜΑ) which today is following its own course.
- In 1984 at the initiative of our association we decided to internationalize the issue of thalassaemia and in the same year and in 1985 our association and with the participation of PASPAMA invited to Athens, representatives from six countries (Greece-Italy-US-Cyprus-United Kingdom- Pakistan) working on the creation of the Thalassaemia International Federation.
- In 1986 15 countries aggregated and in 1987 in Cyprus, the first conference took place with 30 countries participating and the president of our association Papageorgiou Kostas was elected the first elected president of the International Thalassaemia Federation(T.I.F.), a position he served for many years until he retired from T.I.F in 2001 at which time the number of participating countries exceeded 70.
- In 2001 in Athens, the International Conference on Thalassaemia took place under the auspices of PEPPAMA and PASPAMA involving 1,650 participants, despite sabotage from some groups related to the events of September 11, 2001 with the fall of the twin towers in New York.
- For the first time, the conference made a profit GRD 30,000,000. With the unanimous decision of the Organizing and Scientific Committee, we purchased an echocardiography machine with a value of GDR 54.000.000. With additional major efforts and sacrifices the association raised the remaining money for repayment and the machine is currently still used for examining patients. At least 3000 tests have been performed to date.
- Today, the role of the association is to offer assistance in every direction needed and its contribution is recognized nationwide. In 2009 together with PASPAMA it held a Thalassaemia Conference in which the latest advances were presented.
In these difficult days that we are currently going through, the acquired rights in health that were achieved are being trimmed daily. The association with continue the struggle to maintain these with all its strength.