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Arch Hellen Med, 27(1), January-February 2010, 7-17


Prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Alma-Ata 1978 and today.
What has been achieved and what should be expected?

1Second Clinic of Cardiology, Medical Center of Athens,
2Department of Hemodynamics, "Evangelismos" General Hospital, Athens, Greece

A review of the world situation and the events of the preceding 20 years, along with the socioeconomic conditions prevailing world-wide in the late 1970s, led WHO officials to the decision to call an international meeting of official representatives of the world countries. Their mandate was to review and discuss the health status of the population and the health care services in the different countries and institute the appropriate adjustments indicated for their improvement. Representatives from 134 countries, including Greece, gathered in Alma-Ata, the capital of Kazakhstan in the former USSR, and after a week's discussions arrived at certain conclusions and made some very radical decisions and suggestions: They stated the goal of "Health for all by the year 2000", through the optimal organization of primary health care services (PHCS), defining a series of steps for achievement of this goal. It soon became evident, however, particularly in the underdeveloped world, that such a goal was not feasible. Approximately 20 years later the UN called a new conference, which took place in the year 2000 with representatives from 189 nations. Again, 8 very important, quite radical and generous decisions were made, with the promise and the hope that the expected results would be evident by the year 2015. We are now in the middle of that time span and we do not think that we can be very optimistic about expecting impressive results. We propose that Greece (Hellas) undertakes the sole responsibility of securing "Health for all Greeks", through a national endeavor: The State will organize this lifelong campaign and will enlighten its citizens on the very rewarding results of applying recognized and successful preventive measures and programs, on both an individual and a population basis, for primary and secondary prevention. Greece has a very rich and long history of national benefactors. The authors strongly believe that if some enlightened personalities would cooperate to organize such a campaign, they could coordinate a number of wealthy countrymen to invest the necessary funds for such an enterprise.

Key words: Alma-Ata, Cardiovascular disease, Prevention.

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