Building a new NICU in Nicosia, Cyprus

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Guest article by Elena Megalemou Triantafyllides, President of the Board of Directors of our partner parent organisation in Cyprus, “Mora Thavmata” (Miracle Babies)


The “Miracle Babies” Association is a non-governmental organisation, a member of EFCNI’s network of parent and patient organisations, and supporter of the European Standards of Care for Newborn Health (ESCNH).  It was founded in early 2015 by a small initiative group consisting of parents, grandparents, and relatives of preterm babies.


To support the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Arch. Makarios III Hospital in Nicosia, the unique Level III-IV referral centre for all of Cyprus.


The upgrade of the NICU according to international and European standards so that…

  • … preterm and ill neonates have the best possible start in their lives.
  • … parents can be present in the Unit for as long as they wish.
  • … adequate staff and personnel are present in a healthy and safe environment – following the ESCNH for “NICU design


  • The NICU in Makarios III Hospital Nicosia is the only referral centre for the entire island of Cyprus (public and private sector, British bases, occupied areas). Based on international standards and guidelines, for every 8,000-10,000 births, one NICU level  III-IV is needed. In Cyprus we have 8,000-9,000 births per year.
  • The NICU opened in 1985 with 18 beds (incubators/cots), increased to 48 throughout the years due to the increasing rate of preterm births. Now the occupancy is up to 150%, as more than 60 newborns are hospitalised daily.
  • It is obvious that a new and upgraded NICU is needed urgently.


  • Presently, the existing NICU – due to superfluity, lack of space, and inadequate personnel resources and training – does not meet international standards like the ESCNH.
  • It is scientifically and medically proven that infant- and family-centred care, the presence of the parents and especially the practice of skin-to-skin / Kangaroo Mother Care helps newborns and parents. In Cyprus, parents can visit their babies only two hours a day – expanded recently to 6 hours a day after actions by our Association.


  • According to international standards and guidelines, the space and design should support infant- and family-centred developmental care, safe and optimal working conditions for healthcare professionals, and other relevant aspects of good clinical practice.
  • We support continuous parent participation, interaction, Kangaroo Mother Care and skin-to-skin care, promotion of breast feeding, and infrastructure for parent-infant closeness throughout the 24 hours.
  • We propose and design for the new NICU:
    • a family room
    • a breastfeeding room
    • an upgrade for the offices of medical and nursing staff


Our Association is the first NGO in Cyprus to have started a strong campaign back in 2019 to convince the Government that the existing NICU has to be extended and renovated as soon as possible. Our inspiration was the Call to Action “ZERO SEPARATION”, initiated by EFCNI and GLANCE.

Initially, we had to persuade the Health Authorities and the Ministry of Health concerning the necessity of the project. The proposal of our Association to the State took place in 2020 and was the result of an exchange of views with NICU neonatologists, medical staff, and parents. Our proposal found support from the Ministry of Health, the Health Committee of the House of Representatives, and the Accountant General. We cooperated with the Cyprus Health Services Organization and the Ministry of Health for 5 years. We prepared architectural and electro-mechanical plans and drawings based on international standards, worth 200,000 Euros which we delivered for free to the Cyprus Ministry of Health so as to speed up the declaration of a competition for the project.

On the 12/06/2024 our dream became a reality. On that day, the President of the Republic of Cyprus, Mr Nicos Christodoulides, placed the foundation stone (cornerstone) for the project to begin. It is a project that will, on its completion, cost about 6 million Euros.

We feel proud, moved, and satisfied that, after so many years, we made it. We shall remain in the front line until the project is fully completed. The first part (the extension) is estimated to be completed by the end of September 2025.

Help and embrace the efforts of our Association!