Over 300 children will be examined by orthopaedic doctors visiting Cyprus from the Shriners Hospital in the US, Health Minster Michalis Hadjipantela said on Thursday, visiting the George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation.

The group of American orthopaedists examined children with problems and diseases of the limbs and the spine completely free of charge at the George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation, in Nicosia. Of these children that were examined, a group will be selected to go to the Shriners Hospital to receive surgeries and after-care completely free of charge.

During his visit with the team of orthopaedic doctors at the site, Hadjipantela expressed his deep appreciation, since, as he said, “thanks to the George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation and the team of orthopaedic doctors of the internationally renowned Shriners Hospital, around 300 children from Cyprus and the neighbouring countries have the opportunity to be examined and offered some specialised tests and treatments that cannot be carried out in Cyprus.”

He also said he hoped the cooperation between Shriners Hospital and Cyprus would expand.

Doctors from Shriners have been in Cyprus for the past three days, and Friday will be their last day on the island.

Hadjipantela was welcomed by members of the George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation, including Jerry G. Gantt, President of the Brotherhood of Shriners International, and Kenneth G. Craven, President of the Board of Shriners Children Hospitals.

The George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation have been collaborating with the Shriners doctors for over 40 years. During this collaboration, more than 16,000 children have been examined to date and more than 4,000 children have been sent to America for further examinations, surgeries, and hospitalisation.

Children, who need specialised treatment, are referred – regardless of whether their family can pay the required amount – from the George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation to Shriners hospital in America, for operations and recovery.

Since its foundation in 1872, the sole purpose of the doctors from the non-profit has been to provide completely free of charge the best possible medical support for children up to the age of 18 with specific orthopaedic conditions.

In 2018 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the health ministry, the George and Thelma Paraskevaides Foundation and Shriners Hospitals for Children. The agreement provides for the strengthening of cooperation between the three parties and the expansion of synergy in the fields of education and research.

“Our aim is to perform surgical procedures in Cyprus as a reference point for the countries of the Middle East,” Hadjipantela said.