Building consensus on health system strengthening in Greece


The Ministry of Health of Greece together with WHO/Europe organized a workshop on health system strengthening that took place on 8–10 June 2016 in Athens, under the "Strengthening capacity for universal coverage" (SCUC) initiative. The goal of the workshop was to develop and/or enhance the capacity of government officials and other key stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of the health reforms that the Government of Greece has initiated.

Well over 30 participants, who actively engaged in dynamic discussions and openly expressed their views, attended the workshop, among them representatives of the Ministry of Health, Governmental Council for Social Policy (KYSKOIP), National Organization for the Provision of Healthcare Services (EOPYY), regional health authorities and academia.

"I am happy to welcome you all to this event, organized in collaboration with the WHO team in Athens," said Deputy Secretary-General for Primary Health Care, Stamatis Vardaros, in his opening speech. He added, "For the proposed reforms to succeed, it is important that we are all able to speak the same language, based on a thorough understanding of the Greek health system and its performance problems, the available options for improving performance and a pragmatic analysis of their strengths and weaknesses."

The agenda of the three-day event included presentations by external and local experts on:

  • the health system's functions and performance criteria
  • the global and regional health policy contexts
  • barriers to accessing health services in Greece
  • the burden of disease in Greece and its implications for the design of the health system
  • the evolution of health services funding and health services purchasing in the country
  • the Greek primary health care reform.

Participants also engaged in group work and plenary discussion sessions dedicated to diagnosing root causes of the health system's performance problems, assessing the proposed primary health care reform and improving health services purchasing mechanisms in Greece.


The SCUC action is carried out with funding by the European Union through a grant agreement between the European Commission and WHO/Europe. Its general objective is to contribute to improving health and health equity in Greece, especially among the most vulnerable in the population, by helping the Greek authorities to move towards universal coverage and to strengthen the effectiveness, efficiency and resilience of their health system.