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.

Public Health Authority warns against food borne infection in South Africa

Following the weekly Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response Committee (IDSR) meeting chaired by the Public Health Commissioner on Tuesday 23rd January 2018, the Public Health Authority (PHA) is informing members of the public of an ongoing outbreak of Listeriosis, a food-borne infection, in South Africa.

“The committee has deduced that the outbreak is persisting in spite of interventions being done,” says Dr Gedeon. “The World Health Organization and Health Authorities in South Africa have noted this outbreak as unprecedented with a higher than usual mortality.”

A significant increase in the number of listeria cases was noted at the start of January 2018, with up to 20 confirmed cases registered over 5 days. Several areas are being affected and these include Johannesburg and Cape Town.

These World Health Organisation (WHO) and Health Authorities in South Africa are working to identify the source of the food contamination and the risk of the disease spreading to other countries has been classed as low.

“Seychelles imports several food products from South Africa and tests for listeria monocytogenes in food can be done at the Public Health Laboratory here,” Dr Gedeon added.

Listeriosis is an infection caused by the bacteria Listeria Monocytogenes. It is transmitted through contaminated food or water. It is mainly associated with the consumption of contaminated ‘Ready-To-Eat’ foods i.e. food which is prepared or cooked in advance, with no further cooking or preparation required before being eaten.

The infection presents in various forms. The most common form of the disease is an acute, self-limiting gastroenteritis which presents with fever and diarrhea. It is usually resolves on its own, within a day or two, without medical intervention. Some infections are serious and infected persons may present with meningitis which is the inflammation of the protective layer covering of the brain. They may also present with bacteraemia (when the bacteria enters the blood).

Certain group of people are more at risk of developing serious illness especially infants, elderly above 65 years and those with weak immune system. Pregnant women are also most at risk as they can develop pregnancy-related complications including miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery and infection of the newborn. It is advisable that persons in these categories avoid travelling to the affected areas.

  • 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 and PHA recommend that members of the public 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 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 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.

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 


School tuck-shops rewarded for exemplary food sales practices

January 16th 2017 – In efforts to bolster compliance to the nationally recognised School Nutrition Policy by several food providers based on school premises, the Health Care Agency is hosting an award ceremony on Thursday 18th January 2018 at 9am, to reward tuck-shop operators with good nutritional practices.

44 tuck-shop operators have been invited to the ceremony at the Sheikh Kalifah Diagnostic Centre, where 27 operators will receive an award for their satisfactory compliance to the policy. The Health Care Agency has noted 60% compliance to the policy.

“Ten operators will be given silver awards and fifteen bronze awards,” says Mrs Rosie Bistoquet, Director Family Health & Nutrition Programme at the Health Care Agency. “Then, there are two outstanding operators who will be awarded Gold Awards for exceptionally meeting requirements, standards and guidelines of the policy”.

Another highlight of the event is the reveal of the newly introduced TRAFFIC LIGHT SYSTEM for food sales by tuck-shop operators. This new system which is to be implemented in all primary and secondary intuitions from the beginning of the new school term of 2018, divides food nutrients into three categories: High, moderate and low Nutritional Values according to the dietary guidelines.

Traffic Light System:

  • Foods that fall within the green light are foods that can be sold in unlimited amounts. These should be 70% of the menu.
  • Food in the amber zone should be carefully selected and can only be 2 items per day. These would make it 30% of the menu.
  • Food in the red light are foods that should not be sold at all.

“It is mandatory for implementation of this guideline to start at the earliest, especially now the rate of overweight, obesity is on the rise among both children and adults; 21% in children, 72% in women and 57% in men respectively,” Mrs Bistoquet adds. “Tuck shop operators will be given a period of about 3 months to use up previous stock of food/drink products after which the guidelines should be fully implemented”.

The national school nutrition policy is a joint document between both Ministry of Education and Ministry of Health. It was last updated in 2008 and serves as a guide for nutrition in all schools. The policy is currently being revised and will ensure greater provision of healthier snacks for the school children and reduced availability of less favorable choices in the school tuck shops.

Rehabilitation services hosts annual children’s Christmas party

Tuesday 26th December 2017 – 114 children of up to 5 years who attend rehabilitation sessions across the country will come together in a gathering to celebrate Christmas on Wednesday 27th December 2017 as from 11am.

Rehabilitation Services along with Airtel Seychelles each year hosts a small get-together for the children and their parents to enjoy the festive season in fun and light atmosphere. This year, the festivities will take place at the Asian Fusion restaurant at Au Cap.

The party will feature a small lunch, some games for both parents and children to partake in. Santa Claus will also make a small stop to give a small gift to the children.

Rehabilitation Services comprises of various services including; physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, cognitive therapy and others. Several of these services are available in all health centres.

 

Youth welfare explored in first-ever multi-sectorial meeting

Monday 18th December 2017 – A high level committee on youth health, formed from the recommendations of two surveys on youth behaviours conducted in 2015, will host their first meeting at the Ministry of Health on Tuesday 19th December 2017 at 1.30 pm.

The meeting which will be chaired by the designated minister, Mrs Macsuzie Mondon will take place in the Minister’s conference room in the red roof building. Members of the committee will discuss proposals of the two surveys, which were published in a report earlier this year.

The Seychelles Global Youth Tobacco Survey and the Seychelles School-based Student Health Survey, highlighted a high prevalence of numerous risk behaviours among adolescents aged 13-15 years.

Recommendations from the report included several approvals for multi-sectorial actions promoting healthy lifestyles in adolescents.

Members of the committee will explore these various recommendations and strategies to be rightfully implement these.

The high level committee comprises of different representatives from Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Citizens Engagement Platform (CEPS), Seychelles Interfaith Council (SIFCO), National Sports Council (NSC), Seychelles National Youth Council (SNYC), National Assembly, and the Ministries of Health, Education, and Youth Sports and Culture.

Small family enterprise donates to Seychelles Hospital in memory of departed relative

13th December 2017 – Small family business, Danube Home by Smart Living, will gift sofa beds and recliners to the Seychelles Hospital this festive season, in remembrance of their late brother’s fight against cancer.

The donation consists of 2 sofa beds sofa beds worth SCR 20,000 and 2 single-seater recliners worth SCR 14,000. These will be presented in a ceremony at the Red Roof Building on Friday 15th December 2017 at 8.30am.

Owners of the enterprise located in the centre of providence, Margaret and Maureen Victorine, will make the presentation to the CEO of Health Care Agency, Dr Danny Louange.

“We value our customers and consider them as family,” says Margaret Victorine. “Having lost our brother to cancer at the beginning of this year, we are humbled to be able to give back to the Ministry of Health. This is our recognition to all the nurses and doctors who in their own way guided us during this hard time.”

The furniture will be used in the paediatric ward, located on the ground floor of the Seychelles Hospital. In the past few years, more than 2000 children have been admitted on the ward yearly. In 2015 and 2016 respectively there have been 2094 and 2238 admissions.

Children are often accompanied by their parents or guardians who spend the night. These two pairs of furniture will add to the parents comfort during their admission. The Health Care Agency hopes to generate a continued partnership with Danube Home by Smart Living, following the donation to continue improving care and comfort in health facilities.