Patras collects food for malnourished children of the poor

A children’s hospital in the Peloponnesian port of Patras has reported that it is treating seriously malnourished children, pointing out that certain social groups are still suffering from problems that the mainstream left behind it decades ago. The Karamandaneio Hospital, in association with the welfare department of Patras Municipality, has decided to hold food collections to distribute to poor families. «We decided to make this effort when we realized that there was a huge problem. The hospital treats all of southwestern Greece and frequently we treat children, mainly babies, with serious problems of malnutrition,» Giorgos Krokidas, head of the hospital’s pediatrics clinic, told Kathimerini. He noted that the children are underfed and have low muscle mass. The problem affects mostly the families of Gypsies and refugees but also families which, on the surface, do not appear to be in such serious straits. Sources said that two children have died. Parents press the hospital for help and some milk after their children are treated and discharged. «It is unacceptable that there should be such cases today,» Krokidas said. He said the food collection effort could help but was not a solution in itself. «The problem will be dealt with only when the problem of unemployment is solved. It plagues poor families to a greater extent, who also usually have a larger number of children,» Krokidas said. With the help of companies that provide foodstuffs to the hospital, some 6,500 children’s meals have been collected and they will be distributed among poor families. According to the president of the municipality’s welfare department, Hasman Ahmet, 887 poor families have been registered. Patras Mayor Andreas Karavolas said that efforts are being made to find jobs in the private sector and that 70 people have already begun working as part of this scheme.