Nicosia, 20 December 2017
Kick-off Event LIFE+ MEDEA Project
Mitigating the Health Effects of Desert Dust Storms Using Exposure-Reduction Approaches
The Kick-off event of LIFE+MEDEA project("Mitigating the Health Effects of Desert Dust Storms Using Exposure-Reduction Approaches") was successfully held in Nicosia at Medical School, University of Cyprus with the participation of distinguished scientists and researchers. The LIFE+ MEDEA research project aims to provide the first field-based evidence for the adoption of a strategic plan for mitigating the health effects of desert dust storm desert dust strom events in South-Eastern Europe. The ultimate goal of the MEDEA project is to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of an adaptation strategy to DDS and better inform EU policy making.
During the meeting opening ceremony, the Project Coordinator, Professor of Pediatrics at University of Cyprus, Dr. Panagiotis Yiallouros, presented the project objectives concerning the development of meteorological models of early forecasting of desert dust storms and timely notification of the public targeting susceptible individuals as well as the development of recommendations and practices in reducing exposures to desert dust storm events and related adverse health effects in panels of adults with atrial fibrillation (AF) and children with asthma. Through these actions, MEDEA project seeks to demonstrate that a strategy for adaptation to the desert dust storm episodes is feasible and effective and eventually efficiently transfer the project results to the European decision-making centers. The findings of the program, as Dr. Yiallouros stated, will be disseminated to national competent authorities, the scientific community, social stakeholders and citizens in Cyprus, Greece and Israel as well as in selected bodies of other desert dust storm-exposed South Europe areas.
Along with the kick-off event a public Colloquium on “DDS pollution and associated health effects” was also held. During the Colloqium, reputable scientists and researchers, collaborators in the MEDEA research project, discussed the various parameters of the desert dust storm phenomenon. Dr. Stavros Solomos from the National Observatory of Athens, presented the existing know-how on the prediction of desert dust storms and the current capability for early warning of the public, while he highlighted the adverse effects on human health. Dr Stefania Papatheodorou, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Cyprus University of Technology, demonstrated a review of the scientific data on the correlation of dust storms with respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, whereas Dr. Victor Novak from the Soroka Medical and Research Center of Israel introduced the experience of the neighboring country about the adverse health effects of dust storm on heart disease patients.
The MEDEA partnership brings together an interdisciplinary consortium of eight partners (University of Cyprus, Cyprus University of Technology, University of Crete, Soroka Clinical and Research Center, E.n.A Consulting LP, Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation, Cyprus Meteorological Service and Department of Labor Inspection of Cyprus) from Cyprus, Greece and Israel. The program was commenced in September 2017 and will last for 4 years until August 2021. The total budget of the program amounts to 3,338,000 million euros. The project is co-financed by the EU with 1,939,000 million euros under grant agreement LIFE16 CCA/CY/000041.