WHO regional office in Cyprus

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The Health Ministry signed Friday with the European Regional Office of the World Health Organisation an agreement to establish a Country Office in Larnaca.

“Our collaboration today goes from strong to stronger,” said Hans Kluge, Director for WHO Europe, during the signing ceremony in Cyprus.

The office is set to start operating in a few weeks and is located temporarily at Livadia village until a permanent building is found in central Larnaca.

Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides attended, and Kluge and Minister of Health Michalis Hadjipantela praised his contribution to realising the vision of a WHO office in Cyprus.

“We want this office to be the best in the world, which will give Cyprus an active role in the region,” said Hadjipantela.

He said that the new project underway is for Shriners Hospital’s doctors to examine children from Ukraine who have orthopaedic problems in cooperation with Cyprus.

Kluge said the agreement constitutes a critical chapter in the long-standing relationship between WHO and Cyprus.

“We learned critical lessons from the pandemic, which showed the world that global solidarity and partnership could put countries on track in managing crises and strengthen the health services and infrastructure.”

The WHO official said that when the next health crisis arrives, “we must be ready to continue offering health services uninterrupted”.

Kluge praised Cyprus for taking swift measures during the pandemic crisis, adding that the region can learn much from Cyprus.

He will meet with other WHO officials in Geneva soon to draft the action plan for the office on the island, which can be the platform between Africa, Mideast and Europe.

“Cyprus can share best practices as it has the highest life expectancy in the region.”

Kluge said that we are faced with a much-improved COVID situation, adding that there is optimism but vigilance at the same time.