The President of the Republic, Mr. Nikos Anastasiadis, addresses the event organized by the Ministry of Health to honor the health professionals and other staff at the OKYPY hospitals, as well as the members of the Ministry's Directorate of Departments, for their contribution in the management of the coronavirus pandemic. //
The grateful thanks of the state and society to health professionals was expressed by the President – The Minister of Health Michalis Hatzipantela described the period of the pandemic as a historic moment
The grateful thanks of the State, society and himself personally were expressed on Thursday by the President of the Republic Nikos Anastasiadis to all health professionalsfor their offer during the pandemic.
In his address at a special event held at the Kition Sports Center in Larnaca, President Anastasiades expressed emotion because, he said, he was “among those with whom we fought an uphill battle in order to save lives, in order to keep the country's economy in solid foundations, in order to support businesses in general, workers, but above all people. We owe all this to those who were called heroes of the front line, to our doctors, to our nurses, to the paramedical staff, to all those whose implementing decisions of another separate portion of our compatriots, the scientific collaborators, this highly scientifically qualified staff, the professors who were our advisors, the President and the members of the Medical Association who joined together with the state and gave the best results”.
The President referred to the former Minister of Health Konstantinos Ioannou and the current Minister Michalis Hatzipantela, the General Director of the Ministry and all the collaborators, and noted that “when I was forced to address the people for painful measures, every line I wrote, every thought I put into paper, at the same time I felt a control of conscience, whether we had the right to deprive the world of its freedom. However, there were not many options, we took tough measures, we stood by the citizens and we were vindicated”.
At the same time, he thanked and expressed his gratitude to all health professionals in a due event of honor for their decisive contribution to the management and response to the pandemic. “Through the knowledge, the sensitivity, the high sense of responsibility, the unparalleled zeal and professionalism they demonstrated as a whole, they responded adequately and overcame the risks in dealing with a multitude of incidents, whether they concerned the hospitalization and care of patients, or the information and enlightenment of the citizens”, he added.
He also mentioned that “the State, and the citizens as a whole, we feel grateful, with today's honor being the minimum recompense for their own priceless offer during the said period, but also because they continue to offer and we have a high index in terms of the level of health in our country”.
In his greeting, President Anastasiades also referred to the successful operation of the NHS, which “was also evident in the response to the specific crisis”, and noted that “the achievements of managing the pandemic are due not only to the implementation of the NHS, but primarily to the superhuman efforts of scientific, medical, nursing and paramedical personnel of our country, to our scientific advisors, to the effectiveness of the administrative structure of the Ministry, to all health professionals, to the prudent political management, but above all to the discipline and patience shown by our people”.
The President also referred to the Government's policies to strengthen the work of health professionals, but also to support those affected by the crisis and said that the necessary infrastructure in public hospitals was strengthened, free hospitalization, tests were made available to everyone and vaccines, with an expenditure that until last month exceeded 280 million euros.
Regarding the special sponsorship plans to support businesses, workers who were facing serious effects due to the pandemic, as well as the unemployed, President Anastasiades said that 220 thousand people and 28 thousand businesses benefited at a cost that exceeded 3 billion euros.
The President of the Republic welcomed the establishment of a Country Office of the World Health Organization in Cyprus, adding that “the regional Office of the International Organization with responsibility for infectious diseases will be housed exclusively in Cyprus and will cover the countries of the Mediterranean basin and South-Eastern Europe, comprising by Cypriot experts, but also by an external expert of the Organization”.
At the same time, he warmly thanked the WHO Regional Director Dr. Hans Kluge for the recognition of the dynamics developed by Cyprus in the fields of research and excellence in the field of Health.
Tonight's ceremony of honor, the President continued, “is nothing more than the minimal debt owed by the State to the health professionals, who overcame fears, limits and endurance and gave Cyprus the right to be proud of successfully dealing with one of the worst pandemics that affected humanity”.
On behalf of the state, society and himself personally, the President of the Republic expressed “grateful thanks” to everyone.
In his own speech Minister of Health Michalis Hatzipantelacharacterized the period of the corona virus pandemic as a historical moment, “a period that tested endurance, changed our lives and our way of thinking. A period of losses and sacrifices, daily battles and victories and which highlighted its own heroes”.
Today is special, he continued, “as it is a day of gratitude to say a huge “thank you''. to the Health professionals, who in the most difficult moment of this place after the Turkish invasion of 1974 raised a shield of protection for hundreds of thousands of our fellow human beings. Health professionals, at all levels, put their stamp on stopping the gallop of the killer virus and its mutations, with complete professionalism, with honor, with incredible sacrifices and in a thousand other ways that really shocked and inspired us.”
At the same time, he congratulated and thanked the Minister of Health Konstantinos Ioannou, the General Director of the Ministry, Dr. Christina Giannaki, to the members of the Scientific Team and the Pancypriot Medical Association. “We know there is still a lot of work to be done and that the fight against this virus is not over,” he noted.
Besides, the Regional Director of the World Health Organization for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge thanked President Anastasiades and the Minister of Health for the support to the Organization, which made possible the establishment of the Organization's Office in Cyprus and expressed impatience “for cooperation with the Ministry of Health and other involved bodies to improve health and health security in the country and the region, utilizing strong Cypriot advantages and know-how”.
He characterized the workers in the health and care sector as “backbones, the eyes, the ears, those who provide health” and what a health system provides, adding that over time, and especially more recently through the pandemic, workers in the field of health workers remained at the forefront of patient care and managed unprecedented levels of stress and grief.
He added that “every one of the 53 WHO Member States in this Region owes a huge debt of gratitude to health workers and care, as well as in Cyprus. During the COVID-19 pandemic, health and care workers have been the main line of defence, trying to provide care, often at great personal risk, putting their very lives at risk.
He also stated that “the health potential of Cyprus is strong, but it deserves better support. The recognition of the work of health professionals today is timely and worthy” and he noted that “this award is an indication of the commitment of the health authorities as well as the WHO, that through our new office in Cyprus we will be able to serve and support better”.
Then Linos Hatzihannas, Pathologist – An infectious disease specialist of the OKYpY, referred to the actions taken to deal with the coronavirus pandemic in Cyprus.
Maria Christodoulou, a nurse in the ICU of the General Hospital of Nicosia, conveyed the difficult moments she experienced on the front line of the pandemic, adding that lived shocking experiences, without working hours and with the anxiety of the patients' relatives, while he noted that even family members were hospitalized next to each other.
Besides, Aglaia Gerasimos, a patient at the General Hospital of Nicosia and Famagusta, of the Reference Hospital for the coronavirus, said that she was intubated for 18 days and when she opened her eyes she asked for a hug, which, although she needed it, it was also impossible to give her . The professionalism and love of the health professionals, she said, was what kept her alive, noting that she feels reborn.
Afterwards, the President of the Republic presented an honorary plaque to the Director General of the Ministry of Health, Christina Giannaki, who thanked all her colleagues in the Ministry, as well as the former and current Minister of Health, for their tireless and selfless efforts. “The struggle was and is continuous to uphold the legality and safeguard above all the public interest,” he said.
President Anastasiades also presented an honorary plaque to the Medical Services and the Public Health Services, to the Pharmaceutical Services , to the Department of Subsidized Patients of the Ministry of Health, to the Epidemiological Surveillance and Tracking Unit of the Ministry and to the Chairman of the Board and the General Executive Director of OKYpY.
Honorary plaques were then presented by the President of the Parliament, the Minister of Health and the WHO Regional Director.
It is noted that during the event approximately 300 honorary plaques were given to health professionals and other institutions, including public hospitals, while in the following days the Minister of Health will tour hospitals to present honorary diplomas to approximately 4 thousand people.