Monday, 11 December 2017

Both the snow-sprinkled Troodos mountains and the blue sea of Morphou were visible from the village of Evrychou, the location of a University of Nicosia Medical School Mobile Clinic Expedition on Saturday, 9 December 2017.

However, the students were not there just to admire the view, they were there to check the blood pressure of people in the community and to observe them being examined by Dr Marios Tryfonides, Assistant Professor of Trauma & Orthopaedics.

Having set up their equipment inside the Health Centre, the students registered the patients and explained that they would have their blood pressure tested before seeing the doctor in the Mobile Clinic parked outside.

The Health Centre’s dedicated staff and Evrychou’s community leader Xenakis Xenofontos were on hand to welcome Dr Tryfonides and the students.Dr Tryfonides has close ties to the area of Solea and so already knew some of the patients who came to be examined.

It was, however, the patients’ first encounter with the medical students and they all left with the most positive impressions.

Eighty-two-year-old, Androniki Nikou said: “They were all very nice. My experience was very positive”.

Married couple Panayiota and Nicos Solomou were also united in their praise of the students’ approach.

“Is there something higher than ‘Excellent?’’ Mr Solomou asked, adding: “If there is, then that’s my impression of them”.

Mrs Solomou noted how much the community depended on its Health Centre even though Kyperounta Hospital is relatively nearby. “It’s all very well saying it’s only a short drive away, but that’s in the summer and if you have a means to get there. What about in the winter when the roads can become impassable? What about the people who can’t drive and who have no one else to take them?”

This, she continued, was also why expeditions like the one that day were so important: “Consider how hard it would be for many of us to see an orthopaedic surgeon otherwise”.

Waiting to see Dr Tryfonides after having their blood pressure taken by the students, Maria Christou, Evgenia Loizou, Georgia Kyriakou and Maria Papacharalambous said they had been impressed by both the students and Evrychou Community Council’s cooperation with the Medical School.

“I hope that there will be many more similar efforts with doctors from other specialties also coming up to see us,” Papacharalambous added.

Xenofontos meanwhile said that he welcomed the Medical School’s initiative to visit the community. “This cooperation came about between the community and the University of Nicosia Medical School,” he said, adding that early in the day it had already become clear that the village had embraced the effort.

“This was the first such initiative Evrychou has been involved in, but it will not be the last,” he said, thanking the University of Nicosia, Dr Tryfonides and the students and adding that he hoped many more communities would also benefit from similar efforts.

In their first year of the MD6 programme, Manisha Arachchilage and Lama zenEddin, both of whom speak Greek, noted that many of the mostly elderly patients had seemed pleased to talk to someone about their concerns about their blood pressure.

MBBS CS-year student Edwin Liary said that he would definitely be interested in being part of other expeditions, while MBBS T-year student Mamoun El Saifi noted that this had not been his first time out with the Mobile Clinic but that it was always interesting to go somewhere different.

Another CS-year student Tara Shalji noted: “I’m in my first year so this is the first time I have been able to see patients in real conditions. We also had the chance to witness an emergency when someone who had fallen from an olive tree was brought into the Health Centre and Dr Tryfonides helped treat him.”

Dr Tryfonides commented that the emergency had been an opportunity to teach the students something extra: “When you are a doctor, you offer your help when it’s needed whether or not that was why you were in a particular place.”

“It is always good for the students to connect with Cypriots and to become acquainted with local communities.  These are areas that are hungry for medical care. Today, people rushed over simply to have their blood pressure tested,” he added.

Dr Tryfonides noted that there was no orthopaedic centre in the area: “Ten appointments had been made and in the end I saw 22 patients. This is something the authorities need to take into consideration”. He suggested that better cooperation between state and private institutions could work to patients’ benefit.

“When it comes to the students, I was impressed by their enthusiasm. This kind of training, within the community, is very important,” he added.

Once the examinations were over, Evrychou’s Community Council treated the students to a tasty traditional Cypriot meze at Klimataria Restaurant before an interesting visit to the Cyprus Railways Museum.

Created within what was once the start and end of the line of Cyprus’ railway, the museum provided the students with a fascinating glimpse into part of the he island’s past.

Student volunteers: Edwin Weisong, Lior Marko, Tara Sholji, Ahmed Soliman, Dana Rozenfeld, Juliet Peck, Mamoun El Saifi, Afreshdeep Sandhu, Furhana Hussein, Keneolisa Udoji, Michael Lutwak, Amin Bolaji, Manisha Arachchilage, Lama ZenEddin

Staff volunteers: Dr Marios Tryfonides, Evangelos Stambolis