Kyperounda’s Jubilee Sanatorium
In the first decade of the 20th century, tuberculosis plagued the population of Cyprus. For the treatment of tabes there was one Sanatorium in Athalassa with 55 beds and a long waiting list. In 1935 on the Silver Jubilee of King George V (grandfather of Elizabeth II), when Governor of Cyprus was the notorious Sir Herbert Palmer and Kyperounda’s muhtar (the head of the Community) was George (Giorkis) Fakas, the King decided the construction of several important governmental buildings as a gift of the Crown to Cyprus. Οne of them was the «Jubilee Sanatorium».
The construction lasted over two years and in 1942 the new Jubilee Sanatorium was full of patients. The area had already been chosen by the Forestry Department, since 1935. The dry climate and the isolation of the area were the factors that led to the choice of the site as tabes considered really dangerous, after leprosy and other infectious diseases. Around 1952-54 a new ward was added to the Jubilee Sanatorium with a capacity of 100 beds, since the needs were increased. The left ward of the Sanatorium was for male patients and the right for women.
Ioannis (John) Fakas mentioned that the approval of Kyperounda’s Muhtar asked for expropriation of land for the construction of the second sanatorium in Kyperounda. The village residents countered strongly to the construction of the sanatorium in Kyperounda. George Fakas was convinced of the need for the construction of the Sanatorium despite the risk and signed the agreement on the last day of his term as muhtar. Once the news spread in the village, quite a few villagers gathered in the area opposite the Sanatorium to lynch him or kill him in order not to sign. George Fakas said to them "I have already signed and the hospital will be made even if you kill me."
The fear of the people for the dangerous contagious disease was so big that the women passing with their donkeys outside the Sanatorium turned their backs and held their nose with their headscarves. A lot of people avoid passing from that road, preferring the path opposite the sanatorium. Once, when the Sanatorium had a great need of staff, the head sister visited the village in search of staff, but she was persecuted in a bad way.
The personnel of the hospital stayed temporarily in areas of the hospital near the patients, something that was really dangerous. Those working in the Sanatorium had to stay in a specific building, “the house of nurses”, where they had food and shelter and they should not approach the village.
In the first two years, the sanatorium functioned without qualified personnel. The exception was the T/Cypriot Turkan Aziz, who majored in England from 1940 to 1942 for tuberculosis and in 1943 was placed as a Matron in Sanatorium with two other nurses from Nicosia. The Sanatorium requested qualified personnel from England and training of local staff and that was approved. (Turkan Aziz «The death of a friendship», 2000 (pp 35-37).
The first British physician Charles Edward Bevan, with his assistant and then his successor Joseph Christodoulides, served for several years, healing and/or operating on the patients, since there was no effective drug treatment of disease. In a related scientific publication (The Cyprus Medical Journal sel.992-997) Joseph Christodoulides says "During the period 1950 to 1953 I operated 78 patients (54 men and 24 women), most of them aged between 20-45 years. The patient's good physical condition and the long term (2-4 months) preoperative rest in hospital were important factors in the success of surgery".
High visitors visited occasionally the Jubilee Sanatorium and signed the guestbook: Governors, Presidents of the Republic, Archbishops, Health Ministers, etc. Among these signatures are those of Ms Mary Rooke-Harding, wife of Governor Sir John Harding (on 04.12.1957), the Governor Sir Hugh Foot (on 12.18.1957), the chief doctor J.H.L. Clarke, the first President of Cyprus, Archbishop Makarios III (on 12.30.1960), Princess Irene of Greece (on 10.16.1962), and many others.
Based on a transnational agreement between the Cyprus and East Germany of swapping patients the new left wing of the Sanatorium hosted asthmatic German children (with accompanying teachers, doctors and support staff) for many years (from 1978 until the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989). As part of their treatment the children went for long hikes in the mountains and valleys of Kyperounda. 240 children were hosted each year in groups of six (6), from March until November.
In 1974 the few tuberculars were sent home and according to the new social needs the hospital was transformed into half a military Hospital and half a sanitarium in order to decongest the hospitals of Nicosia and Limassol. Around 1977 the Kyperounda’s Jubilee Sanatorium was established into a Regional Hospital.
This information were provided to us by Mr. Kyriakos Charalambous
Collection provided by Cyprus University of Technology
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