Paediatric Ward celebrates Chidren’s Day

Children at the Paediatric Ward of the Seychelles Hospital will be treated to a special gathering organised by the Ministry of Health and SkyChef Servair on Friday 1st June 2018 to celebrate Children’s Day.

For this occasion, there will be a special lunch prepared by Skychef from 12pm. The Minister for Health, Mr Jean Paul Adam, and the Sales and Marketing Manager of SkyChef, Ms Sharon Botsoie will also join the event to distribute gifts.   

Tuck shop guidelines officially launched for second school term

The revised ‘2018 Tuck-Shop Guidelines’ for schools in Seychelles will make its official debut in the second school term following the handing over of the document to the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development by the Ministry of Health.

The presentation will take place on Wednesday 16th May 2018 at 9.30am at the Mont Fleuri Primary School dining hall.

In attendance will be the Minister for Family Affairs, members of management from Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, school head teachers, parents, school nurses and several other key stakeholders in the implementation of the guidelines.

Developed by the Nutrition Unit of the Health Care Agency in partnership with the Ministry of Education and several key partners, the ‘Tuck Shop Guidelines’ outlines food that can and cannot be consumed on school grounds based on their nutritional value. These foods are categorised according the Traffic Light Classification System.

The review of Tuck shop Guidelines started in 2017 as part of the revision of the National School Nutrition Policy dated August 2008. It aims to provide healthier food choices to school children and promote healthy eating habits to complement their academic training. The guidelines also ensures that that food and safety practices are well respected and applied at all times.

Public Health Authority implements monitoring measures amidst Ebola outbreak

Following notification of two confirmed cases of Ebola virus, in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), to the World Health Organisation (WHO) by the Ministry of Health of DRC on Tuesday 8th May 2018, the Public Health Authority of Seychelles is setting up proactive measures locally in line with the 2014 Ebola Response plan. Several monitoring measures are being implemented at ports of entry, including at airport and sea ports.

These including screening of all passengers who have travelled to the DRC within the 21 days of arriving to Seychelles and placement under passive surveillance. Additionally, the Public Health Authority is advising the public to refrain from travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo unless absolutely necessary and to contact the Communicable Disease Control Unit (CDCU) before travel to the Congos.

A total of 21 people believe to have the Ebola were reported from the Bikoro Health Zone, Equateur Province of DRC. From this, there has been 17 deaths. The patients presented with several symptoms similar to that of the illness, including fever, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, muscle pain and joint pain, and some also showed haemorrhagic (bleeding) symptoms and signs.

Over the past forty years, the DRC has experienced eight Ebola outbreaks. The last epidemic took place in May 2017 in the zone of Likati, Province of Bas-Uele. The ongoing epidemic is located in the Bikoro Health Zone, located in Equateur Province, in western Democratic Republic of the Congo and on the border with the Republic of the Congo. This is the fourth time that an Ebola outbreak has been reported in this province, after those of 1976, 1977 and 2014.

Seychelles and Cuba further consolidate health cooperation

As part of his diplomatic visit to Cuba, the Minister for Health, Mr Jean Paul Adam met with his Cuban counterpart, who has also recently taken up the role of Vice President of the State Council, Dr Roberto Morales Ojeda on Thursday 26th April 2018.

The meeting follows the ‘Cuba Salud’ Health Conference on the Sustainable Goals in Havana, which took place between the 23rd and 27th April 2018.

In their discussions, Minister Adam expressed his appreciation for the 53 Cuban experts who are currently contributing to Seychelles’ health sector. He also addressed the possibility of further expansion of the Cuban team for additional support areas of priority for sector. These include the more comprehensive treatment of diabetes, treatment and research in cancer and enhancement of neo-natal care and emergency care.

During the visit, the minister and his delegation also had a chance to meet some of the students studying in Havana as well as those in other provinces. In discussing with them, Minister Adam outlined the opportunities that they have for specialization and also listened to their views and perspectives with regards to their studies and their return to Seychelles.

“I am encouraged by your obvious enthusiasm and your wish to make a meaningful contribution to your country upon your return,” Minister said greeting the students. “A career in medicine leading directly to specialization means you will have the opportunity to be a leader in your field in Seychelles and this is a great responsibility but also a wonderful opportunity”.

There 15 students currently studying medicine in Cuba. Minister Adam also expressed his gratitude to the Cuban Government for agreeing to allow the Seychellois doctors to directly proceed for specialization. This extension was agreed on during the visit of President of the Republic of Seychelles, Mr Danny Faure in April 2017. The first two students to graduate with medical degrees following the agreement have already started their specialisations. The suggestion to have other Seychellois doctors who are working in Seychelles undertake their specialisation courses in Cuba was also raised by the Minister and this was wholeheartedly welcomed by the Cuban side.

The Seychelles delegation have also visited several reference institutions in Cuba including the Calixto Garcia Hospital, the Hermanos Ameijeras Hospital, as well as the National Institute for Oncology and Radiotherapy and the Cuban Genetic and Biotechnology institute. During these various consultations, the two sides continued to deliberate and jointly agreed to explore opportunities to provide more support and training, especially with the development of Seychelles Hospital as a teaching hospital.

Health minister underlines South South Cooperation as vehicle to achieve SDGs

Attending the 3rd ‘Cuba Salud’ Health Conference in Havana Cuba, from the 23rd to 27th April 2018, the Minister for Health, Minister Jean Paul Adam, hopes to explore means to harness South South cooperation options to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The conference which is being held under the patronage of the Cuban Ministry of Health and the Office of WHO Director General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, has brought together health leaders from developing nations to identify mutual challenges and opportunities.

On Wednesday 25th April, Minister Adam joined by the Sudanese Minister for Health, Bahar Idriss Abu Garda, attended a special panel to share perspectives of different health systems in relation to global health challenges and opportunities. The panel was convened by Dr. Pierre Buekens, Professor and Dean of the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine of Tulane University in New Orleans.

Minister Adam spoke from the perspective of an African Small Island Developing State and also as current chair of the grouping of African ‘SIDS’ Ministers of Health.

In his address, he underlined the first and greatest challenges for small island states; Human Resources. Following this he thanked the Cuban Government for its support in this area through South South cooperation. Through this link, 53 Cuban health professionals are supporting the Seychelles Health system and 15 Seychellois students undertake tertiary education in medicine in Cuba.

Minister Adam also indicated his wish for such partnerships to be further institutionalised and for more training opportunities to be explored. In the context of Seychelles this involves developing capacity for the Seychelles Hospital to become a teaching hospital.

Other areas addressed by Minister Adam include how climate change places more pressure on SIDS’ health systems and a serious need to divert resources away from treatment and prevention, flagging the ever increasing burden of noncommunicable diseases. He indicated the interest of Seychelles and other SIDS to use Cuban experiences of comprehensive treatment programmes for key diseases such as diabetes. The recently launched diabetes passport initiative is a means by which Seychelles is seeking to address both treatment and prevention among persons and families most at risk.

However, small island states continue to face procurement limitations for essential drugs and equipment due to their lack of economies of scale. It was in effort to improve on this that Minister Adam suggested SIDS build mechanisms for better leverage in procurement with the support of WHO and Latin American region through the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).

As the conference unfolds Minister Adam will continue to engage with his Cuban counterpart, as well as visit several institutions involved in the partnership between Seychelles and other countries. He is accompanied during his visit to Cuba by his Special Adviser, Dr. Loren Reginald and is also supported in Havana by the Charge D’Affaires if the Seychelles Mission, Mrs. Lalatiana Accouche.

Nouvobanq donates spinal instruments to Seychelles Hospital

On the occasion of a donation of a spinal instrument set an implants to the Health Care Agency by Nouvobanq Seychelles, a formal handing over ceremony will be held at the red roof building on Friday 20th April 2018 at 10am.

The Managing Director of Nouvobanq Seychelles, Mr Ahmad Saeed will present the instruments to the Chief Executive Officer of Health Care Agency, Dr Danny Louange, in the presence of the Minister for Health, Jean Paul Adam, the special Advisor to the Minister for Health, Dr Loren Reginald, management staff of the Ministry and Nouvobanq.

These equipment are vital in treating spinal trauma locally especially with the rise in road traffic accidents, as well as industrial accidents. Nouvobanq Seychelles made a similar donation toward spinal care in June 2017. These included Cervical Spine Sets and Implants.

Listeriosis Update

South Africa

The listeriosis situation in South Africa is improving. Although cases are still being registered, these are diminishing since the source was identified as ready-to-eat processed meat products manufactured at Enterprise Foods’ Polokwane production facility.

The recall of implicated food products was announced on 04 March 2018. However, it is expected that new outbreak-related cases will continue to be reported, for the following reasons:

  • The incubation period of listeriosis can be up to 70 days
and the implicated food products have a long refrigeration shelf life, and it is possible that 
despite the recall some products were not removed from retail/home settings, and 
consumption might occur.

  • The possibility of cross-contamination of other types of foods in the retail or home setting 
may result in additional cases.

In total, South Africa has so far reported a total of 999 confirmed laboratory cases with 191 deaths. The total number of unconfirmed cases is much higher.

 

Australia

Meanwhile, a separate report of listeriosis happened in Australia and it was linked to rock melon from a particular farm in New South Wale. All melons from the farm were recalled by the Australian authority, but not until it may have been exported, including to certain countries in the middle East from which supplier in Seychelles import.

After receiving the report formally and later through the social media that the rock melon may have reached Seychelles, the Food control unit in Public Health Authority (PHA) in conjunction with biosecurity unit launched an investigation and product tracing. We have since found that rock melon from the farm in question was not re-exported to Seychelles. As a precaution test results of melon imported by the Seychelles importer coming from Australia were sought. They have all been negative for listeria; which means they do not carry the bacteria

 

Information and other measures

The PHA continues its surveillance on the field, in health facilities and laboratory, and will update the media periodically.

Listeriosis is caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. It is transmitted to persons through contaminated food or water. Healthy persons exposed to Listeria do not fall ill. The vast majority of cases are mild, and the most common form of disease is an acute, self-limiting gastroenteritis which presents with fever and diarrhoea; this usually resolves on its own without medical intervention within a few days.

However, some infections are serious and persons may present with severe illness. Certain group of people are more at risk of developing serious illness especially pregnant women, infants, elderly above 65 years and those with weak immune system.

Listeriosis is mainly associated with consumption of contaminated Ready-To-Eat foods. Foods most often implicated in foodborne outbreaks globally, are:

  • Ready-to-eat deli meats (polonies, ham products etc) and hot dogs.

  • Refrigerated pâtés or meat spreads 

  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk and dairy products 

  • Soft cheese made with unpasteurized milk, such as, Feta, Brie, Camembert 

  • Refrigerated smoked seafood 

  • Pre-packaged salads 


International Tobacco Control Experts Finalize WHO African Regional Training Manual for Tobacco Control Enforcement and Compliance

A dozen of experts in Tobacco Control from the World Health Organisation (WHO) Headquarters, Regional Office, South Africa, Mauritius, Kenya, Uganda and Liberia will join Tobacco Control focal points in Seychelles for a 3 day workshop to finalise a Tobacco Enforcement and training manual for the WHO African Region (WHO AFRO) from the 17th to 19th April 2018, at the Coral Strand Hotel, Beau Vallon.

WHO AFRO has developed in recent years a Guide on Enforcement and Compliance to assist Member States to implement appropriate enforcement and compliance strategies for tobacco control legislation. Going forward, WHO AFRO is now hosting in the Seychelles this workshop to develop key training materials to build individual country’s compliance and enforcement capacity. The training materials will include a training Modules and job-aids for monitoring compliance to be used by government authorities in the WHO AFRO.

Seychelles has been selected as the venue for the Regional WHO workshop as it has comprehensive tobacco control laws that are in the process of being enforced, serving as best practices and learning environment for other countries. In the past, the country has also contributed to the development of the Guide on Enforcement and Compliance.

It is expected that at the end of the workshop, participants from the 5 countries would have documented public health enforcement and compliance relevance for tobacco control as well as developed capacity building modules on enforcement and compliance legislation to be adopted formally later in the year by WHO AFRO.

Seychelles health sector hails workers with varied activities

Celebrating this year’s Health Workers Day and World Health Day, a global tribute to all health workers and innovation they bring to the health sector, the Ministry of Health is hosting a week-long programme of activities from the 4th to the 12th April 2018.

The programme highlights a seminar to present the performance of the health sector and a new framework for health promotion in different organisations across the country and an award ceremony to reward 200 long-service staff as well as a staff who has shown commitment towards implementing person-centred care. In attendance will be government officials, Ministry of Health managers and staff and representatives from the private sector.

These activities will culminate to something more fun, where health staff joined by their families, health students, professional dancers and other government representatives will come together for a pop-up event in the Victoria market followed by the annual staff sports day.

Around 2000 workers are employed in the health sector, with 1669 working in the Ministry of Health.

Health Wokers Day and World Health Day is commemorated annually on the 7th April. This year these two days are being observed under the theme ‘Universal health Coverage. Everyone. Everywhere.’ or ‘Lasante par nou tou. Lasante pour nou tou!’

Routine medical Screening of food handlers identifies shigella

During its routine screening of food handlers, the Public Health Authority recorded 15 out of 456 Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT) factory employees who tested positive for Shigella.

Shigella is a group of bacteria which causes the infection shigellosis. Some people who are infected with the bacteria may have no symptoms at all.

At the time of screening the workers who tested positive had no symptoms. They were excluded from handling food until they completed a course of antibiotics and repeated a test for Shigella with negative results.

Screening for certain harmful bacteria by the Public Health Authority is routinely done in all food establishments to prevent food borne infections.  

The purpose is to identify employees who present a risk for transmitting foodborne pathogens, such as Shigella, to food or to other employees.

Shigellosis is one of such infection. It is a disease caused by a group of bacteria called Shigella. Most people who are infected with Shigella develop diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps starting a day or two after they are exposed to the bacteria.

Although some people who are infected with the bacteria may have no symptoms at all, the Shigella bacteria may still be passed to others. The spread of Shigella can be stopped by frequent and careful hand washing with soap and water as well as taking other hygiene measures. Shigellosis usually resolves in 5 to 7 days.

In view of the above, The Public Health authority would like to reassure the public that there is no outbreak in IOT. The Public Health Authority and its partners will continue to work together to ensure that food safety is being well applied in the food industry.