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.

Minister for Health hails Seychellois optometrist and pioneer

Tuesday 13th February 2018 – As part of his visit to private health establishments this year, the Minister for Health Mr Jean-Paul Adam visited the first Seychellois optometrist and the first to establish private eye testing and the provision of spectacles in Seychelles.

On Friday 26th January 2017, the Minister stopped by Mr Eddie Micock’s practice- The Eye Care Centre- located in the Aarti Chambers Building in Mont Fleuri to discuss several ways of enhancing the partnership that exists between the Ministry of Health and private health facilities.  

“Mr Micock’s successful strategy paved the way for many others to follow and further widen the scope of services that are available to our citizens,” Minister Adam said of the service. “We can all be proud of his pioneering efforts.”

“The Ministry of Health is looking to work closely with private practitioners such as Mr. Micock to better educate and sensitise our population, especially on risks and complications of Non-Communicable diseases,” he added.

Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) which are medical conditions or disease that is not transmissible from one person to another has been at the forefront of numerous health campaigns. These diseases include cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and several others.

“NCDs have a debilitating effect on our national productivity. Through furthering this partnership we can improve prevention as well as treatment options,” Minister Adam concluded.

Mr Eddie Micock started working in eye care in the hospital in 1975. He ventured into private health care in 1992 after his return from the UK. He is also a member of the Health Care Agency Board which is mandated to deliver health care services to the population.

Ministry of Health clarifies support it accorded to young boy with rare medical condition

Tuesday 8th February 2018 – A recent programme aired on Seychelles Broadcasting Cooperation (“Bonzour Sesel”) presented the rare condition of a young Seychellois boy, Nathan Laporte.

The programme aiming to get support so that the boy may continue his treatments showed a profoundly incorrect impression of the support both financial and medical, given by the Ministry of Health.

To clarify the support that the Ministry of Health has provided, the Principal Secretary for Health, Dr Bernard Valentin, wrote to the TV station.

The full text of the Ministry of Health’s position on the matter is as follows:

The Ministry of Health has followed the recently aired programme on SBC appealing for support on behalf of Nathan Laporte – a young boy affected by a tragic disease.

Like all members of our society, the Ministry of Health is sensitive to the extremely difficult situation faced by Nathan, his parents and his wider family.  Unfortunately the programme created the false impression that the Ministry of Health has not supported the treatment of Nathan – a view that is profoundly incorrect.

The health care professionals in the pediatric ward and throughout the health service have given the utmost support to Nathan throughout his life – from diagnosis of the debilitating disease that he faces, to the various options of treatment that are available.  

The Ministry of Health’s policy also provides for a review to be done annually at a hospital in India.

The Ministry of Health understands that the family of Nathan, have for a while been following certain treatments in South Africa, and wish to continue to do so.

The Ministry of Health thanks you for the opportunity to clarify the situation, and hopes that in all future appeals that someone may wish to make, that appropriate verification is made with the Ministry of Health before such accusations are made unchecked.

Bake Off highlights World Condom Day

Thursday 7th Febuary 2018 – ‘Got Cake?’ or ‘Ou Annan Gato?’, the theme for this year’s commemoration of World Condom Day locally, is set to take the Ministry of Health by storm with an in-house Bake Off as from 9am on Wednesday 13th February 2018 at Maison Hermitage.

Staff with a penchant for the culinary arts will showcase their talent with an array of baked goodies on the theme to promote the use of condoms, educate people about the need to practice safe sex at all times and create awareness on getting and giving consent.

The entries will be appraised by a group of judges from the Ministry of Health, who are mandated to pick out the best from the following list of criteria: Volume & General appearance, Originality and Creativity, Technical difficulty, Texture & Taste and Overall Appearance.

“This day is an ideal opportunity to promote healthy sexual relationships and give out a reminder of the importance of getting and giving consent,” says Ms Maryline Hollanda, Sexologist and Programme Manager for Sexual Reproductive Health at the Ministry of Health. “This time we’re bringing some of these education to our staff as well, in a fun and creative way.”

Additionally, the Health Promotion Unit will go around the health campus prompting staff to guess the numbers of ‘Condom in a Jar’.

The day will culminate to a prize giving ceremony for both activities sponsored by Urban Island, Danube Home by Smart Living and Eden Bleu Hotel.

World Condom Day is commemorated every year on 14 February, which coincides with Valentine’s Day. This year’s theme highlights the following the following messages:

 

C – Consent

A – Ask first – Both partners of legal age actively agree to take part in sexual activities without fear, coercion or intimidation.

K – Keep safe – Both partners have the right to use condoms and other contraception to protect themselves from sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and unplanned pregnancies.

E – Every time – Both partners have the freedom to choose when and what sexual activities to take part in, and the freedom to change their mind at any time.

 

Ou Annan GATO?

G – Ganny konsantman

A – Aret pran risk

T – Toultan servi ou Kapot

O – Ou lasante ou responsabilite

 

Health Ministry renews biennial workplan with World Health Organization

Monday 5th February 2018 – The Ministry of Health will formally renew collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday 7th February 2018, at the Minister’s Meeting Room at the Red Roof Building at 9am.

A two-year workplan providing funds worth US$739,600 from WHO will be signed by the Minister for Health, Jean Paul Adam and the WHO Liaison Officer, Dr Teniin Gakuruh in the presence of senior management of the Ministry of Health and  WHO staff.

The Biennial agreement supports key health developments on a country’s agenda. It provides a clear framework for WHO’s technical cooperation with Seychelles for the next two years.

It will help finance several priorities identified by the Ministry of Health, including communicable and non-communicable diseases, health promotion, health system strengthening and disease preparedness, surveillance and response.

In addition to the funds from the workplan, additional funding and technical support will be provided for other health priorities identified by the government as well as other emerging issues that arises during the course of the two years.

The previous plan ended in December 2017. The new plan will last from 2018 to 2019.

Seminar launches week-long activities for World Cancer Day

Thursday 31st January 2018 – World Cancer Day will be observed across the globe on February 4th 2018. To commemorate this event, several activities is being organised by the Ministry of Health.

The series of activities will begin with a seminar on Friday 2nd February 2018, as from 1pm to 3pm. This activity will be dominated by different presentations from the Ministry of Health as well as sponsors in cancer care like Barclays and SCAA. The presentations will discuss Cancer Research Findings, and monetary contributions towards treatment, prevention and research, through donations to the Ministry of Health.

Between January 2017 and November 2017 a total of 178 new cancer cases was diagnosed. 90 were male and 88 female. The 5 most common cancers in Seychelles are: Prostate, Colorectal, Breast, Cervical and Oral cavity cancers.

Cancer is also the second most common cause of death in the Seychelles. It accounts for 20 % of the total number of deaths occurring in the Seychelles. In 2017 alone, 130 cancer related deaths were recorded, of which 78 were males and 52 were females.  The most common cancer related deaths are prostate cancer in men and breast in women.

World Cancer Day, which is being observed this year under the theme ‘We Can. I Can.’ aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer. It unites the world’s population in the fight against cancer to collectively help reduce the global burden of cancer.

Other activities:

  • 3rd February – Screening Exercise organized by the Cancer Concern Association next to St Paul’s Cathedral.
  • 4th February – International Cancer Day — organize with all churches in the country to have the Sunday service dedicated to all cancer sufferers, survivors and their families and the ones who are no more with us.