Cyprus Mail

Government to boost support for rare diseases

Health Minister Michael Damianos

The government, through the national health scheme Gesy, is constantly seeking new ways to enrich and upgrade the services received by patients with rare diseases, Health Minister Michael Damianos said on Wednesday.

He was speaking during a seminar organised by the Pan-Cyprian Alliance for Rare Diseases on Rare Diseases Day, held annually on the last day of February.

According to the minister, Gesy is looking to upgrade the provision of diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic services for several rare diseases through specialised clinics and scientific centres in both the public and private sectors.

Additionally, he said the health ministry is looking to increase the support of healthcare professionals specialised in treating rare diseases.

In that regard, Damianos stressed the holistic provision of healthcare services by Gesy for patients with rare diseases.

Regarding the pharmaceutical treatment of patients, he mentioned the provision of innovative medicinal products for patients based on internationally accepted guidelines.

Furthermore, Damianos highlighted the importance of timely prenatal screening.

“Through a proposal approved by the council of ministers, the health ministry approved the expansion of neonatal screening programmes for an additional eight diseases for a period of three years, followed by an evaluation for an additional two years,” he said.

Lab work will be carried out by the Cyprus Institute of Neurology and Genetics (CING) and the paediatric centre Amerikos Argyriou, while the clinical part will be undertaken by the Makarios Hospital.

He also added that where patients are diagnosed with rare diseases requiring treatment not available locally, the health ministry will ensure their care through specialised medical centres abroad.

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