Cyprus Mail

Larnaca-based WHO office will be operational ‘as soon as possible’

Υπουργός Υγείας – Συνέντευξη Τύπου
File photo: Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela

Headway is being made towards the start of operations as soon as possible for the Larnaca-based regional office of the World Health Organisation, spokesperson for the health ministry, Konstantinos Athanasiou, has said.

On Sunday, three health officials were on the island for consultations, Athanasiou stated to the Cyprus News Agency, adding that an agreement is expected to be signed within January, in the presence of WHO Regional Director for Europe, Hans Kluge, who will come to Cyprus for the signing ceremony.

On Monday, Athanasiou noted, the three WHO officials will visit the planned office location in Larnaca and meet with municipality officials and the health ministry.

On Tuesday, they will meet with Minister of Health, Michalis Hadjipantela, and with the General Director of the ministry, Christina Yiannaki, during which they will evaluate progress to date.

“There are some technical issues to sort out, however, everything is going well,” Athanasiou said.

The Cyprus-based WHO regional office will serve the countries of the Mediterranean basin and southeast Europe, and will be staffed by Cypriot experts, as well as an external expert from the organisation.

The presence of the office is expected to strengthen public health and preparedness in dealing with emerging epidemics and infectious diseases through the promotion of innovative preventive actions, as well as through collection, dissemination and evaluation of epidemiological data.

The regional office will also play an active role in policy development for coping with zoonotic diseases, and network and alliance-building between the countries of the Mediterranean and southeast Europe, engaging the countries concerned through targeted actions.

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