Cyprus-Israel Health Ministers discuss cooperation during emergencies, transplantations and COVID-19

Health Minister, Michalis Hadjipantela, and his Israeli counterpart, Nitzan Horowitz, discussed about expanding Cyprus-Israeli health cooperation when dealing with emergencies and natural disasters, as well as in the area of organ transplantation and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Speaking after a meeting, in Nicosia, Hadjipantela referred to the long-term cooperation between Cyprus and Israel in medical matters and patients’ treatment. He also mentioned that his Israeli counterpart submitted written suggestions, with the aim of signing a memorandum on matters that fall within their competencies, this summer.

He said that during the meeting, they agreed that Cyprus and Israel will transfer patients from either country to hospitals of either country, during an emergency. He also noted that the Israeli Health Ministry suggested storage areas, where they would jointly keep equipment to be used in such an emergency, either in Cyprus or Israel.

The two Ministers also discussed ways to activate an agreement on organ transplantations, benefiting patients from both countries, with Hadjipantela expressing hope that the first transplantations will take place soon.

Replying to a question, Hadjipantela said they also discussed the management of the pandemic during the meeting. “We decided that both countries follow a close cooperation and we will frequently ask for exchange of information” said the Minister of Health and added that the aim is to effectively manage a possible new pandemic wave. To another question, he said that the Ministry’s services closely observe the mew COVID-19 cases and hospitalisations and any policies will be decided in coordination and after exchanging information with other EU countries and Israel, as well.

The Israeli Health Minister, Nitzan Horowitz, stated from his part that the “excellent cooperation” between the two countries is based both in the geographical closeness and the “common values, common interest and strategy” they share. He said that the discussion between the two parties concerns mainly the cooperation “in the fields of emergency services, dealing with natural disasters – such as earthquakes, fires or security problems – in terms of medical and health responses to emergency situations”, as well as the joint training of staff, sharing of equipment in emergency situations, programs for organ transplantations and the expansion of cooperation between Cypriot and Israeli hospitals.

“Both countries share a good tradition of cooperation and I think we have a lot in common to develop in the future”, said Horowitz and added that he proposed a draft for a bilateral memorandum in the hope that it could be signed within this summer. “I invited the Minister to come to Israel soon, for the regional conference of the World Health Organization and I hope to see him before that, to sign a mutual agreement to extend our medical cooperation”, he said.

Responding to a journalist’s question, he said that he would pay a visit to Famagusta hospital, which is the reference hospital for COVID-19. “I was informed that it is your number one corona hospital” he said and added that he would like to observe how COVID-19 patients are treated in Cyprus. “Unfortunately, these recent weeks we see a rise in corona virus cases in Israel, so we also exchanged information about this and we will collaborate in the future. I hope we are not in the same situation we were in previous waves, but we have to prepare”, he concluded.

Source: Cyprus News Agency