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16 February 2023

The installation of PET-CT (positron emission tomography-computed tomography) scanners at four university hospitals in Greece’s geographic peripheries—namely in Alexandroupoli, Ioannina, Larissa, and Heraklion—through a grant from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) is nearing completion. The PET-CT scanners are currently undergoing installation checks and are expected to be fully operational in all four locations by the end of April 2023.

This project is an important one for the Greek public, as it is expected to significantly improve the quality of care for hundreds of cancer patients and others by providing access to essential specialized services for which they would otherwise have to travel to Athens or Thessaloniki.

Sofia Koukouraki, Professor of Nuclear Medicine at the University of Crete School of Medicine in Heraklion, underlined the importance of this grant for residents of Crete and, by extension, for the country. "It was a vision we’ve had for many years that, due to the high cost, we had not been able to realize and have in our quiver for diagnostic and therapeutic treatment. Until now, patients have been forced to seek the care they deserve at diagnostic centers, public and private, outside of Crete, which entails both psychological burden and financial costs. Due to the particular clinical conditions they face, a large percentage of these patients were not able to travel outside of Crete. With this grant, patients will be able to get the care they deserve."

The SNF grant includes the procurement and installation of the PET-CT scanners, as well as accompanying renovation work at the four hospitals to accommodate the equipment. The PET-CT scanners were delivered to the hospitals in the fall of 2022, and the renovation work is in the final stages. The Greek state has undertaken responsibility for staffing the relevant departments and operating the equipment, as well as for the maintenance costs after the two-year warranty period. Since the beginning of the grant, the project has been carried out in close collaboration between SNF, the four hospitals, and the Hellenic Ministry of Health.

This grant is part of SNF’s $750 million-plus international Health Initiative, which includes infrastructure projects, equipment procurement, training programs for health professionals, initiatives on mental health, and partnerships with leading international institutions to build expertise and further disseminate knowledge in the field of health around the world.