Prescription for Greece’s future health

Prescription for Greece’s future health

Greece’s healthcare system needs attention. From personnel shortages to restructuring primary care services to upgrading public hospitals, the next Greek government will have to address the lingering problems facing the national health service.

But the real challenge is to go beyond just fixing things and articulate a vision of Greece’s future as a center for medical innovation and services. That means tapping the many existing advantages Greece has – in life sciences, medical talent, wellness, to name a few − and bring them together into a health ecosystem that could be one of the growth drivers of the economy for decades to come. At the same time, a more robust health and medical sciences sector would translate into better health care for all.

The last few years – and particularly since the pandemic − have demonstrated the potential of the Greek life sciences sector: from pharmaceuticals to the country’s top-notch private hospitals and diagnostic centers. Just as importantly, the issue of wellness has taken on a new dimension and further fueled growing international awareness about the need for healthy lifestyles and healthy diets.

Greece has enormous potential in each of these areas. The country’s pharmaceutical manufacturing base and excellent logistics have helped make Greece one of six European logistics hubs for distributing medical materiel and supplies. Greek life sciences talent attracted Pfizer to establish an R&D hub in the country. And, currently, significant foreign and domestic investment is turning Greece into a pharmaceutical hub for the region and beyond.

In the tech sector, Greece’s startup ecosystem is also on board – about a third of Greek startups are involved in health-related applications. This opens possibilities for providing state-of-the-art, digital management of every aspect of patient care and expanding health care services in rural districts.

From a business and investment perspective, health must be seen as a complete ecosystem comprising many interrelated parts. These include the life sciences, healthcare services, medical tourism, wellness therapies as well as the health and support services catering to Europe’s growing Silver Economy.

So for the next Greek government, fixing the ills of the national health system should be part of developing a more holistic vision and strategy for the country’s medical and health sectors, which have already made significant strides. A coordinated health care strategy involving all stakeholders can build on these developments, both to improve the public health system and create growth in the Greek life sciences sector far into the future. 

And what such a strategy might look like will be one of the topics covered at the upcoming 6th InvestGR Forum. The potential is great, both for better individual health care and for the health of the economy.

The writer is CEO of Public Affairs & Networks, which organizes the annual InvestGR Forum.

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