History of the Association
The idea for the formation of an Association for the Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis started in 1993. A group of patients and their immediate relatives attempted to form an Association but they did not complete their efforts.
The idea came again in late 2000 at a meeting of few patients and friends.
One year later on the 10th of December 2001, in the presence of many patients of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis, we had the constitutive assembly of the Association. We elected a temporary Board consisting of eight members (four of them Crohn’s patients and four immediate relatives). The Board, among other activities, was authorized to enroll the Association as a non - profit Association to the Ministry of Interior and to bring the Association to the first General Assembly.
On the 2nd of August of 2002 we enrolled our Association as a non profit organization to the Ministry of Interior with the name Pancyprian Association of Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s disease.
The main purposes of the Association are:
- to provide any kind of assistance, support, care and to attempt in any way to find solutions to the patients problems.
- to reinforce and promote the establishment and running of centers for the attendance of patients and for the protection of those who suffer from related diseases
- to acquaint and inform the public as regards to the problems of the persons who suffer from these diseases.
- to organize seminars, conventions, conferences, debates and any other relevant activities that promote research, progress and improvement of the medical care provided to these persons
- to cooperate with the competent Cyprus state and community services as well as with the competent services and other related institutions abroad.
On the 1st of March 2003, the 1st Pancyprian General Association took place and the first official Board was elected.
Membership of the Association
The population of Cyprus is 750,000 people. We estimate that in Cyprus we have 700 Crohn’s and 600 Ulcerative Colitis patients.
Today our Association has 165 members. Of them, 55 people are Crohn’s patients and 48 are Ulcerative Colitis patients. The remaining members are relatives and friends of the patients. Most of the patients are people under 30 years old. Patients are from both sexes and come from all areas of the Island.
Activities of the Association
From the first days of the formation of the temporary Board in late 2001, there was a substantial activity targeting in three main areas:
- to make the Association known in an effort to reach as many patients as possible and to inform the public about the creation of the Association.
- to make contact with the Cyprus Gastroenterology Association (the Association of the Doctors in Cyprus that specialize in gastroenterology) and to ask for their support
- to make contact with the Ministry of Health in order to discuss the problems that the patients are facing
In view of the above, from January 2002 the Association has proceeded with the following activities:
- the Board of the Association meets regularly (once every month) to discuss various issues and to program activities
- we have assisted several patients in many ways. We have exchanged information concerning the disease, about the medicine used, about the diet of the patients. We also assisted many patients in arranging appointments with doctors in the UK.
- we had a meeting with the Board of the Cyprus Gastroenterology Association and we asked for their support in facing the various problems of the patients. We also asked for their assistance in enrolling at our Association all the patients of Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis in Cyprus
- we have published a brochure where we inform the public about our Association. At the back of the brochure we have a section for enrollment in the Association. The brochure is distributed to all the Gastroenterologists in Cyprus in an effort to reach directly all the patients.
- we have participated in two television interviews where we informed the public about the creation of the Association. At the second TV interview, we had with us the President of the Cyprus Gastroenterology Association. We have also participated at a radio interview at the largest radio station in Cyprus.
- we had announcements in the Cyprus and English speaking newspapers informing people about various activities of the Association.
- on the 1st of March we had our first Pancyprian General Assembly of the Association where we had the election of the new Board.
Contact Persons/ Office for information
At the moment, our Association does not have an office available. However, we are in contact with two Associations that are looking for a third Association to rent offices and to hire a secretary in order to share expenses.
The ideal would have been to have our own offices and secretary but this is a project for the future.