Head: Ms C. Botsi MD, MSc

Greece joined the ESTHER alliance in September 2006 through an agreement signed by the then Minister of Health, Mr. D. Avramopoulos. So that Greece could participate in the ESTHER programme, the HCDCP set up a bureau which was linked to the HIV & STDs Office. An assignment of jobs led to its secession from the HIV & STDs Office and its accession at the Meditteranean and Black Sea Cooperation Office & ESTHER.

The European Alliance ESTHER

The European alliance ESTHER (Ensemble pour une Solidarité Thérapeutique Hospitalière En Réseau) http://www.esther.eu/ is an association of Governments which focuses on networking health professionals and organizations]in Europe with the aim of joining forces to deal with HIV/AIDS and its consequences in developing countries via a high level therapeutic approach. The ultimate aim is to realize the goals set for the new millennium and achieve access to prevention and treatment worldwide.

In 2002 the French government took an initiative to promote the ESTHER network in order to facilitate access to the treatment and monitoring of HIV positive patients in developing countries.

The programme supports partnerships that create hospital care environments and relevant social networks that will enhance the long-term ability of developing countries to treat HIV infection.

This action is based on four key action areas, namely:

  1. Improvement of the conditions of healthcare through technological assistance and the provision of medical equipment. This includes educational programmes for medical and paramedical staff.
  2. Support for national strategies for HIV infected patients by strengthening solidarity and also by networking those trained in the care of HIV patients.
  3. Support for the implementation of continuous care strategies. This means creating links between hospitals and families through health systems and networks that facilitate decentralization and those dealing with the psychosocial aspects of treatment.
  4. Participation in the activities of international and European organizations in order to facilitate long-term access to treatment and care.

The European countries involved are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal and Spain. The network is also joined by the Nordic countries and Switzerland. Currently the ESTHER alliance is running healthcare programmes in about 40 developing countries.

The Alliance signed a memorandum of cooperation with the International Fund for the treatment of AIDS/HIV in order to confront HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and with the World Health Organization (October 2004), after that body had become involved with those diseases in addition to HIV, as well as with child health and maternal mortality.

The ESTHER initiative recently interfaced with the EU’s EDCTP (European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership), thereby paving the way for the implementation of clinical trials in its areas of action.

The office’s professional actions

In order for Greece to fulfill its obligations, given the financial difficulties and lack of money, the existing Greek actions in Africa looked for other fund-raising options.
The Patriarchate of Alexandria http://www.patriarchateofalexandria.com/ is now, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (YDAS, Churches’ Department) and the HCDCP, the partner and operator of the Greek ESTHER initiative in Africa.

The Patriarchate has created and currently operates educational structures and health facilities (clinics, health centers, hostels for victims of trafficking).

Potential future development / expansion of activities, services and infrastructures falling under ESTHER’s jurisdiction

Furthermore, in order to deal with the victims of trafficking from Africa to Greece, the possibility of implementing prevention programmes will be explored along with the development of Hostels for housing victims until they can be repatriated. The cooperation of the IOM (International Organization for Migration) has been requested with regard to the latter.

To date, the Greek ESTHER initiative has recorded Greek structures in Tanzania, Uganda, Madagascar, South Africa and Kenya. The ESTHER Department continues recording until completion.



Full Name Property Tel. Email
C. Botsi MD, MSc Office Manager
C. Rizopoulos Operational actions
A. Stavropoulou Secretariat