Twenty-one student volunteers, faculty and staff from the Medical School visited the Asylum Seekers and Refugee Reception Centre in Kofinou on 6 February. The visit started with a presentation in Arabic on the effects of smoking and was followed by a successful pilot survey. The Kofinou camp is the only dedicated centre in Cyprus hosting refugees and asylum seekers, originating primarily from Syria and Palestine. The pilot survey consisted of a validated interviewer-administered general health questionnaire, specifically tailored for assessing mental/psychological health. In addition some basic anthropometric (weight, height) measurements were taken, as well as blood pressure and lung function assessment (spirometry). Although the conditions were far from ideal for collecting data for research purposes, all students demonstrated excellent professionalism and clinical skills as well as patience and empathy, aptitudes that are essential for the efficient collection of both clinical and questionnaire data.
The team was led by Dr Alexandros Heraclides, Assistant Professor in Epidemiology and Medical Statistics,while Dr Stella Loizou, Lecturer and Academic PBL Co-ordinator, provided valuable help with organizing and facilitating the whole data collection procedure. Communications officer, Mr Argyris Evangelou provided technical support, which was essential under the difficult circumstances encountered. The students involved were: Michel Hilani, Muhieddine Itani, Rima El Attrache, Laamia Subha, Abhishek Jayakumar Madras, Christer Sawaya, Ian Robert Walker, Ioannis Balanos, Kim Luth Near, M. Kenan Rahima, Negeen Deena Farsio, Nur Emel Noubani, Omar Itani, Omar El Sayegh, Rami Basel Haj, and Simran Kaur Singh.