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.

South African processed meat banned following update on Listeria contamination

Following confirmation from the Ministry of Health in South Africa that the source of Listeria contamination and outbreak is processed meat, the Seychelles Public Health Authority has imposed a temporary ban on all ready-to-eat meat products imported from South Africa from Tuesday 6th March 2018.

All processed meat products imported from the country, namely polonies, hams and pre-cooked sausages are being removed from the local market. Importers of processed meat have been formally informed of the ban.

The ban will remain in force until further notice is given by the Seychelles Public Health Authority.

Additionally, the Public Health Authority set up a surveillance programme to test products that are already in the country. All tests done so far have not revealed listeria in any samples.

The Public Health Authority began monitoring the outbreak of Listeria in South Africa since it was declared several months ago. Regular updates have been provided via media outlets and Ministry of Health channels.

Listeriosis is mainly associated with consumption of contaminated Ready-To-Eat (RTE) foods. In line with food safety, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends following the ‘FIVE KEYS to SAFER FOOD’:

  • Wash hands and surfaces before and during food preparation. Wash hands before and after meals
  • Separate raw and cooked food, and don’t mix utensils and surfaces when preparing food
  • Cook food thoroughly – all bacteria are killed above 70%°C
  • Keep food at safe temperatures – Refrigerate food not being consumed immediately and reheat thoroughly,
  • If kept in the fridge it should be consumed within a few days otherwise freeze below minus 18°C.
  • Use safe water and safe ingredients to prepare food.
  • When travelling to affected areas avoid eating uncooked food and if it is consumed raw, wash thoroughly with safe running water before consumption.

Health capacity in implementing international regulations evaluated

Deliberations from a five day meeting evaluating the Ministry of Health’s implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR) will be presented to the Minister for Health, Mr Jean Paul Adam, on Friday 9th March 2018 at 1pm during the closing ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in Beau Vallon.

The meeting officially opened on Monday 5th March 2018 with addresses from Minister Adam and the WHO Liaison Officer Dr Teniin Gakuruh who made strong references to the IHR’s role in the preparedness and response of the Ministry of Health and it’s partners against the plague outbreak in Madagascar in 2017.

Over the five days members of the preparedness and response team will be presenting their accomplishments and challenges to 8 international consultants, who will assist in identifying priority recommendations to improve. The consultants will also collate a report with scoring for Seychelles.

The IHR was adopted for the first time by the Fifty-eighth World Health Assembly in May 2005. The IHR aims to prevent, protect against, control and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease.

World Kidney Day activities promotes ‘My Health, My Responsibility’ approach

The Ministry of Health in partnership with AMSA is organising a series of activities to create awareness and empower the population, in particular women, to be more mindful of their kidney health in line with this year’s commemoration of  World Kidney 2018, under the theme ‘Kidney & Women’s Health: Include, Value, Empower’.

The activities will begin with a Free Screening session for Women on Praslin on Saturday 10th January 2018 from 9am to 1pm at the Baie Ste Anne Health Centre.

The next day, the activities will continue on Mahe with a ‘Healthy Walk’ at 8am from the Seychelles Hospital to the Capital City Building in Victoria. Following this, there will be a Religious Service for patients, family members and staff at the Anse Etoile Community Centre at 11am.

The gradual loss of kidney function (Chronic Kidney Disease), is a public health issue which affects people of various ages, but with a greater concentration in women across the globe.

Globally about 10% of the world’s population is affected by some form of kidney disease. About 195 million women worldwide is affect by loss of kidney function and it is considered to be the 8th leading cause of death in women. Locally, 164 people are on dialysis. Out of those, 89 are male and 75 are female.

World Kidney Day is commemorated annually on the 8th March.

62 graduate from local health and social institution

The National Institute for Health and Social Studies (NIHSS) will hold its annual graduation ceremony on Friday 9th March 2018 at 10.30 am at the University of Seychelles Auditorium in Anse Royale to celebrate the accomplishment of 62 graduating students.

The students studied at the Institution located in North East Point for a period of two and three years and 13 students will be awarded a Diploma in Nursing, 10 a Diploma in Biomedical Laboratory Sciences, 8 a Diploma in Dental Hygiene, 7 an Advanced Diploma in Midwifery, 10 an Advanced Diploma in Paediatric Nursing, and 14 an Advanced Certificate in Oral Health Care.

As is customary, the student with the most excellent achievement will be presented with the ‘Best Performer Award’.

In attendance, will be the Minister for Health Mr Jean Paul Adam, the Principal Secretary for Health, Dr Bernard Valentin, the CEO of Health Care Agency, Dr Danny Louange, the Director of the National Institute for Health and Social Studies, Mrs Marylene Lucas, and staff of the NIHSS.

Update on Listeriosis outbreak in South Africa

Thursday 15th February 2018 – The outbreak of Listeriosis in South Africa continues with 32 additional cases recorded since the last update. Although there is a decreasing trend, new cases are being reported and there has so far been 107 death related to Listeriosis.  

People should be reminded that 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 day or two.

However, some infections are serious and persons may present with meningitis (inflammation of the covering of the brain), or bacteraemia (when the bacteria enters the bloodstream), or pregnancy-related complications, which includes miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and infection of the newborn.

Most cases have been reported in Gauteng, (Johanesburg), Western Cape and Kwazulu Natal. Several areas in South Africa are being affected and this include Johannesburg and Cape Town. The source of the food contamination which is believed to be from the same origin is suspected to be from meat or meat products.

The Public Health Authority in Seychelles continues to monitor the situation closely and has the laboratory capabilities to test for the bacteria. Treatment is also available locally if required.

Given that many Seychellois travel to and from South Africa, travelers are advised to exercise extra caution when selecting and consuming food and beverages.  

Listeriosis is mainly associated with consumption of contaminated Ready-To-Eat (RTE) foods and people need to be aware of the risk. Foods most often implicated in foodborne outbreaks globally, are:

  • Ready-to-eat deli meats 

  • 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 

  • Listeria bacteria are killed by thorough cooking and by temperatures used for pasteurization of milk.
  • Until the origin of listeria contamination is identified, the WHO recommends that we follow the ‘FIVE KEYS to SAFER FOOD’
  • Wash hands and surfaces before and during food preparation. Wash hands before and after meals.
  • Separate raw and cooked food, and don’t mix utensils and surfaces when preparing 
food 

  • Cook food thoroughly – all bacteria are killed above 70oC
  • Keep food at safe temperatures – Refrigerate food not being consumed immediately and reheat thoroughly,
  • If kept in the fridge it should be consumed within a few days otherwise freeze below minus 18oC. 

  • Use safe water and safe ingredients to prepare food. 

  • When travelling to affected areas avoid eating uncooked food and if it is consumed raw, wash thoroughly with safe running water before consumption.