The UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health (APPG on PDRH) recently organised a study tour to Athens, Greece in December 2016, with a cross party UK parliament delegation. The delegation included: Baroness Jenny Tonge, Baroness Jenkin, Baroness Barker, Baroness Uddin, Baroness Northover, Baroness Hodgson and Lord Purvis, several of whom are CFID supporters.
The study tour was co-hosted by UNFPA with support from MSD Greece.
The aim of the study tour was to strengthen UK Parliamentarians knowledge of family planning (FP), sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) service provisions in refugee settings and enhance the membership of the UK APPG on PDRH.
The UK delegation visited the Migrant and Refugee Accommodation facility (refugee camp) at the old Hellenic air-force base on the outskirt of Athens Saturday morning. At the camp, delegates noted the living conditions, met and spoke to refugees whom were mainly from Afghanistan and were briefed by the Doctors of the World Greece (MDM) staff on health service provisions in the camp.
Baroness Jenkin, CFID Co-founder, said, "I was shocked and saddened by how poor Athens appeared to be but at the same time heartened by their tremendous generosity and humanity towards the refugees. The Greek people deserve our support".
In the afternoon delegates were briefed and met with a large group of organisations working and supporting refugees in camps in Greece.
Saturday evening the delegation visited Victoria Square in the center of Athens, where many refugees congregate. They also visited the Faros ‘blue dot’ center for women and children, an unaccompanied minors (boys) drop-in center and a hostel near the square where they had the opportunity to note and meet with staff supporting the vulnerable women and young boys living in and around the square.
Sunday morning, delegates visited the Alexandra Central Government Hospital maternity unit, which was a referral hospital for refugees needing delivery and specialised health service provisions.
Baroness Hodgson, CFID Patron, said, "I am very grateful to European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development UNFPA and MSD for enabling our visit which gave us an insight into the enormous challenges faced by refugees and Greece at this difficult time."