Dr. Bodossakis-Prodromos Merkouris was born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1945. He graduated from the Medical School of the Aristotelean University of Thessaloniki, Greece and has been an authorized General Practitioner via vocational training. He recently retired after 35 years of service in the Greek National Health System as a G.P. Director and is continuously active as the President of the Greek Association of General Practitioners (ELEGEIA).
Dr. Merkouris’s involvement with Health Policy issues concerning Primary Health Care and General Practice dates back in 1980 when he was elected President of the Panhellenic Union of Primary Health Care Personnel. Following that, in 1983 he was elected member of ADEDY (Supreme Association of all Greek Civil Servants). Since 1985 he has been a member of the Primary Health Care Committee of the Greek Central Health Council, of which he was the President during the period from 1999 to 2009.
In 1986, leading a group of General Practitioners, Dr. Merkouris founded the Greek Association of General Practitioners (ELEGEIA) whose main function entails the representation of Greek General Practitioners both domestically, as well as internationally. In addition, he was in charge of the foundation team of the Journal of the Greek Association of General Practitioners and was the editor in chief from 1986 to 1990. Dr. Merkouris’s current Presidential Office in ELEGEIA dates back to its foundation in 1986, as he has continuously been reelected during all this time. All the while, and specifically since 1981 he has been active in the making of all appropriate preparations (legislation, infrastructure, etc.) concerning the establishment and implementation of the Greek National Health System. More specifically, his personal contribution was (and still is) on the focus of Primary Health Care settings (Health Centers and Health Posts) and the role the General Practitioners within the Greek National Health System. Furthermore, he has repeatedly acted as a Consultant to several Ministers of Health and has participated in all crucial legislative committees, with regards to the development of the National Health System in accordance to Primary Health Care and General Practice issues. Dr. Merkouris’s accumulated experience through his involvement as a member of the Examining Committee for the G.P. Specialty for over a decade has resulted in his thorough understanding of the need for better and proper coordination in G.P. training in Greece. Thus, his respective proposal to Central Council of Health, in 2003, led to the Ministerial Decision that described as well as implemented the function of the tutoring system of General Practice in Greece. Since then, he has been appointed and operated as the Central Coordinator of G.P. training in Northern Greece. In an effort to provide further support to this area, he was involved in the Greek translation of the Philip D. Sloane’s 5th edition of the “Essentials of Family Medicine” as co-editor, as well as in the 10th edition (in Greek) of “Geriatrics at your Fingertips” (David B. Ryben et al), again as co-editor (ELEGEIA publications).
In 1984, Dr. Merkouris started to represent Greece in WHO meetings and projects, concerning Primary Care and as such, was appointed as a Temporary Advisor of WHO. He participated in the group that completed the “Primary Health Care in Europe 10 years after ALMA ATA” study and publication. In the long run, the course of this project led to the WHO “Forum on Primary Health Care Development in Southern Europe and its Relevance to Countries of Central and Eastern Europe – the Way Forward” (WHO Publication “Primary Health Care Reforms” – co-author) and resulted to the WHO group, known as Southnet (Southeastern and Central Europe). Dr. Merkouris was elected as a member of the Southnet Steering Committee and was Chairman of the 2nd Southnet Meeting (Thessaloniki, Greece 1998). At the same time, as the Director of the Nea Madytos Health Center (1988-2012) and within the WHO-Greece Medium Term Program he was appointed as a Focal Point Coordinator of the “Development of the Greek Health Centers” Project. His area of responsibility in the Project was the supervision on behalf of WHO and Greece of the three Pilot Health Centers in participation (Nea Madytos – Thessaloniki, Spata – Athens, Spili – Crete).
The Greek Association of General Practitioners (ELEGEIA) became a part of WONCA in 1988. As the ELEGEIA President, Dr. Merkouris has been representing the Greek General Practitioners, being a WONCA Council official member and participating in all of its meetings since 1989. He was appointed as one of the four members of the “WONCA Working Party for Europe” (1992), which resulted to the “Group of 8 for Europe” after the joined collaboration with the four leading officers of the S.I.M.G. (Societas Internationalis Medicinae Generalis). This resulted to the formation of WONCA Region Europe, which was officially established at the first (inauguration) WONCAEurope Conference (EuroParliament, Strasbourg, 1995).
Dr. Merkouris was the first Greek national representative in several European Networks of the 1980s (Leeuvenhorst Working Party/EURACT, EGPRW/EGPRN, EQuiP) and had acted as a liaison between them and Greek General Practitioners, in terms of their future personal participation. As a result, presently speaking, in almost the total of Global and European Networks there exist such Greek delegations.
He has been an invited speaker by various World and European bodies (WHO, Commission of the European Communities, Permanent Committee of European Doctors, etc.) tackling a wide range of medical issues, such as training and research in General Practice/Family Medicine, prescriptions of drugs and OTC in Primary Health Care, telematics in Primary Health Care, etc.
With regards to studies sponsored by the European Community, Dr. Merkouris had participated as a national representative at the “Sentinel Health Data Systems with General Practitioners in the E.C. (EUROSENTINEL)”, the “I.C.P.C. Multi-Language Layer” and the “European Concerted Action on General Practitioners Involvement in Cancer Prevention.” Apart from that, he was an invited speaker at the Advance Informatics in Medicine (A.I.M. – E.C. Program), as well as a member of the Advisory Board of the I.S.A.A.C. project. Furthermore, he introduced ELEGEIA to the Q.U.I.C.H.E. project, as an associate contractor. In 2006, he was in charge of the INTERREG project, which through collaboration with Bulgarian General Practitioners implemented a pilot study on keeping medical records. Nowadays, he is in charge of the ELEGEIA Project, funded by the present Community Support Framework, where ELEGEIA experts will teach appropriate methods of home visits to General Practitioners and other Health personnel in Peloponnese and Crete.
Since 1986, Dr. Merkouris has been the Chairman on all 24 Panhellenic Conferences of General Practice in Greece. In 2005, ELEGEIA hosted the 11th WONCAEurope Conference in Kos island, Greece.