Cyprus is the third largest Mediterranean island with 300,000 Turkish Cypriot and 700,000 Greek Cypriot residents. Due to its political context, Northern Cyprus (home to Turkish Cypriots) has been relatively isolated from the rest of Europe for more than 40 years. Consequently, there is a complete absence of population-level health data from this emerging region, and it is excluded from all health-statistics reported for Cyprus (Rahmioglu et al., 2012).

Aims to investigate;

  • Regional women’s health and disease patterns
  • Economic burden of symptomatology and disease
  • The influence of the ‘Mediterranean lifestyle’ on women’s health
  • Genetic factors specific to the Eastern-Mediterranean populations

COHERE's first aim is to establish a women's health cohort in Northern Cyprus, to collect vital health and morbidity data, and investigate factors affecting women's health and care seeking patterns. We aim to conduct a population-based, cross-sectional study targeting a representative sample of all women living in Northern Cyprus. Specific aims include: (1) estimate prevalence rates of women's health conditions and associated symptomatology, defining gynaecological and comorbidity profiles of Turkish Cypriot women, (2) quantify women's access to health care and estimate the social burden of diseases such as endometriosis in Northern Cyprus.

This study will provide the first systematically collected population health data for Northern Cyprus - an emerging region in Europe for which public health issues have been unexplored to date - and will aid the understanding of regional women's health and illness patterns, and the personal, social and economic burden of symptomatology and disease.

Disease rates, clinical profiles, and healthcare statistics of women in this population will be compared with the rest of Cyprus and other European countries to assess relative burden of disease, and results will form the basis for targeted hypothesis-driven follow-up studies involving Cypriot women. Moreover, the Cypriot adaption of the ‘Mediterranean lifestyle' allows for investigation of the influence of both environmental and genetic factors in this Eastern-Mediterranean population.

This project has the potential to promote evidence-based reproductive medicine in the region, not only benefitting the local population but also providing a basis for an Eastern-Mediterranean women's health resource.

Rahmioglu N, Naci H, Cylus J. Improving health care services in Northern Cyprus: a call for research and action. European Journal of Public Health. 2012 Dec; 22(6):754-755.