The first specialised centre for young people with rare diseases in Cyprus is due to start operation soon, NGO Unique Smiles announced on Friday during an online news conference hosted by EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides and the energy minister Natasa Pilides.

The specialised centre will be operating in the village of Kotsiatis in Nicosia district, and will offer treatment and services to young people as well as consulting for their schools and families. Services will target areas such as the academic, social and emotional spectrum of each child or young adult.

Children and young adults treated at the centre will be offered specialised services by psychologists, psychiatrists, speech therapists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and counsellors, all of whom will undergo continuous training, the NGO said.

Another goal of the centre will be to raise awareness on rare diseases.

Kyriakides expressed her satisfaction in announcing the centre’s upcoming launch, as it has been a longstanding vision of hers.

The pandemic had highlighted the significance of health and equal access to therapies for all, she said, adding that the commission was working tirelessly to offer all EU citizens access to therapies and drugs.

The Unique Smiles centre is an extremely important project for young people with rare diseases and their families, and will offer specialised therapies to those in need, Pilides said.

Finally, the energy minister highlighted the importance of teaching the public about rare diseases and the difficulties people suffering from them are faced with every day.