Over $ 2 million placed in Seychelles' COVID-19 contingency plan
WHO commended Seychelles for the measures in place so far and for being one of the first countries in Africa to be able to test for COVID-19. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library/Wikipedia) Photo License: CC0
(Seychelles News Agency) - The health authority in Seychelles on Wednesday presented a $2.3 million COVID-19 contingency plan to the president and members of the cabinet, as the island nation formalises its preparation and response procedures as per World Health Organisation's (WHO) guidelines.
The plan - whose implementation and success depends on the collaboration of all sectors of the country - was developed with the support of WHO. It reinforces measures and activities which the Public Health Authority was already implementing.
"It has different aspects, aspects of human resources and materials as well as other aspects that have to do with communications and the education of the public in general," Public Health Commissioner Jude Gedeon told the press.
According to Gedeon, the government of Seychelles has pledged about $400,000 to the plan, while support from WHO, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund totals $1.9 million.
Before presenting the plan to the government, the health authority made a presentation to WHO. And on Tuesday after meeting with President Danny Faure, the WHO country representative Teniin Gakuruh commended Seychelles for the measures in place so far and for being one of the first countries in Africa to be able to test for COVID-19, vital in the early detection process.
|The health authority in Seychelles on Wednesday presented a $2.3 million COVID-19 contingency plan to the president and members of the cabinet. (Louis Toussaint) Photo License: CC-BY
Gakuruh also congratulated Seychelles – 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean - for taking immediate action to devise its COVID-19 Response Plan detailing a coordinated and integrated approach to dealing with the outbreak.
The World Health Organisation's representative stressed on the importance of not only heightening the level of preparedness but having the right containment measures should the virus reach Seychelles, with greater emphasis on the strengthening of surveillance and tracking measures.
Danny Louange – chief executive of the Health Care Agency – gave his reassurances that all efforts are being made to ensure that there are enough medical personals and facilities to deal with any eventuality with regards to COVID – 19.
"I think that it is very important to look at our human resources as in the background they are working very hard. They are working very hard because since the outbreak we have staff that has been mobilised for the isolation centre and the quarantine centre," explained Louange.
He said that the agency has also stopped all elective surgeries and doing only emergency procedures and those related to cancer patients. This will facilitate the deployment of more staff. The public is also being encouraged not to go to health centres unless it is really necessary.
The health authority is also training volunteers from the Red Cross Society of Seychelles so that they can assist with tracing in active surveillance.
Since the outbreak, airlines around the world have experienced a rise in flight cancellations and people mostly on social media are asking why airlines especially Air Seychelles are not cancelling flights.
Gedeon reiterated that there will be a negative impact on the country if flights are cancelled, adding that already there are many cancellations and some flights already are coming nearly empty. Besides, the doctor said that airlines are needed to bring in much-needed goods to the islands including food and medicine.
The health authority will also be releasing new measures with regards to travelling and Gedeon said that Seychellois are not encouraged to travel to three new European countries where there have been new developments in the trend of the outbreak. These countries are Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom.
During the conference, it was also revealed that four new thermal scanners will be installed by the end of next week at Seychelles' International Airport and that there are resources and provisions put in place for Praslin and La Digue - the two other main islands of Seychelles.
Schools and elderly homes are also being given special attention under the contingency plan.