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Cypriot Children’s Cancer Charities Worried Over Hospital Renovation Risks

NIKOSIA – Dust and other potentially toxic emissions are being caused by renovations at the Makarios Children’s Hospital in Nicosia which specializes in treating cancer cases, charities helping there have complained.

Members from five groups who support  children with hematological and oncological diseases in Cyprus met with the Paediatric Oncology Clinic of the hospital with House President Annita Demetriou and members of Parliament’s health and education panels.

They said they are concerned over decisions by OKPY, which runs state health services, about extensions and upgrades at the hospital and how they affect the health and safety of the children in the pediatric oncology clinic, The Cyprus Mail reported.

Although the patients of the pediatric oncology clinic are very high-risk, they said there’s not a plan to protect them from high levels of dust and other toxic gasses or microparticles created by the new construction or other adverse consequences.

They expressed “deep concern and reasonable fear” as construction work is linked to aspergillosis (a fungus), which has a mortality rate of 30-95 percent, while in patients with bone marrow transplantation it amounts to 80-100 percent, the paper said.

“No active or passive protection measures of the pediatric oncology clinic have been taken,” the charities said and in a letter to the Health Minister they asked for the hospital, after renovation, to also focus on the design and construction of a new pediatric oncology clinic to benefit the children.

“If, financial reasons, force the minister to reject this proposal, it is the position of all of us that work on the new buildings should not begin until active and passive measures are taken to protect the children of the pediatric oncology clinic,” they said.

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