When it comes to health tourism, Greece is rising as a popular choice, offering highly trained medical professionals and standards equivalent to other western nations, while also being cost effective.

To draw further attention to the booming industry, a delegation of some of Greece’s top health professionals are taking part in a conference being hosted at the Greek Centre in Melbourne.

Taking place across two days from 25 to 26 November, the event is attracting a number of big names from Greece including the president of the Athens Medical Association Giorgos Patoulis, and will also be attended by Greece’s Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs, George Katrougalos.

The first time an event of this magnitude has taken place, president of the Greek Community of Melbourne (GCM) Bill Papastergiadis told Neos Kosmos he and his team are very proud for “initiating this important event for the medical fraternity of Greece”.

“We’ve been working on this for over 12 months and it’s involved a lot of hours and effort and coordination, and I think it speaks volumes about the maturity and the professionalism of our organisation in its capacity to involve itself in events of this nature,” he said.

“There’ll be presentations by some of the leading medical practitioners from southern Europe who will be talking about some of the leading advances in medical science in that part of the world, the health tourism services that they offer, and how we can develop memorandums of understanding between those faculties and faculties in Melbourne.”

Attending and presenting at the conference will be Deputy Foreign Minister for European Affairs, George Katrougalos. Photo: The Greek Observer

Expected to be well attended, including Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, and the Ambassador of Greece to Australia Aikaterini Xagorari and the Consul General of Greece Christina Simantiraki, Mr Papastergiadis is also encouraging members of the public to attend the informative sessions. In a bid to break down barriers, attendance is free of charge to help dispel any misconceptions and answer questions about health cover and services.

“We invite the general public to participate to hear speakers such as one of the leading breast cancer specialists of the world in attendance who will be talking about preventative measures, and diagnosis.”

Meanwhile the president also emphasised the conference’s important role in broadening ties within each respective country’s health industry.

“It’s also about drawing stronger relationships between the faculties, and will lead to closer ties from an economic and academic level,” he said, which will see an exchange of both information and medical students, benefiting both countries.

The conference will kick off with a session at 11.00 am on Saturday followed by another at 3.00 pm, and will conclude with a talk by Mr Katrougalos on Greek investment and trade on Sunday at 1.00 pm.

Parthenon Marble frieze replica to be unveiled in Melbourne

The health tourism conference at the Greek Centre in Melbourne’s CBD will coincide with the unveiling of a life-size replica of one of the most recognised symbols of Ancient Greece, the Parthenon Marble frieze over the building’s entrance.

During the construction of the building, GCM president Bill Papastergiadis said they were conscious of the importance of symbols in identifying the centre as the global base for the Greek diaspora, and that the frieze will serve as a visible reminder.

“The building offers so many different services to Greek Australians, but at the same time we want the building and those services to be appropriately reflected through symbols of our culture and heritage and the replicas will be making two statements; firstly, drawing attention to the building and its historical connection, but equally about the relevance of the fact that these Parthenon Marbles are currently situated outside of Greece and that it’s time for them to be returned,” he told Neos Kosmos.

The street will be closed for unveiling of the six- metre-long frieze, with a number of significant figures in attendance including the visiting Deputy Foreign Minister of Greece George Katrougalos.

Speeches to mark the significant event, music and dance performances will add to the atmosphere.

Mr Papastergiadis thanked Steve Tsalikidis for his generous donation in making the installation of the frieze possible.

The Health Tourism Conference will take place on 25-26 November at the Greek Centre (169 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, VIC). Attendance is free. The Parthenon Marble frieze replica will be unveiled on Sunday 26 November at 12.30 pm.