Qatari mobile hospital undergoes major renovations in Seychelles
The field hospital is located at the Seychelles Coast Guard base at Perseverance. (Seychelles Nation)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles' health authorities have refurbished a fully functioning 60-bed field hospital, gifted by the government of Qatar in September last year, to better suit the island nation's weather conditions.
The field hospital, located at the Seychelles Coast Guard base at Perseverance - a man-made island – is a fully air-conditioned isolation centre for COVID-19 patients, with 30 ventilators, backup generators, an intensive care unit and a pharmacy.
However, over the last few months, the health authorities realised that with the extreme weather conditions experienced at the location, the facility required alterations before it could become fully functional.
When the Qatari military personnel erected the field hospital last year, it was in essence a tent.
"We found that when it rained, water would seep through the tents," explained health minister Peggy Vidot.
Green Island Construction Company (GICC) – a subsidiary of the state-owned Island Development Company (IDC) was contracted to build the necessary amenities the hospital required, such as bathrooms, seating facilities and changing rooms for the medical staff.
|The facility required alterations before it could become fully functional. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY|
"It was merely a big hall and we did not have an area to prepare medicine or food for the patients. In the cases of isolation, where staff would have to change into their protective gear, we also did not have dedicated areas to do so in the previous set-up," added Vidot.
The hospital's surrounding tent has also been replaced with cement board walls – a project that has cost the government SCR 3 million ($975,000) – according to Jitesh Shah, the acting principal secretary for infrastructure.
He added that the ministry is still working with the construction company to finalise the project.
From December up to recent weeks, Seychelles experienced a hike in the number of active COVID-19 cases due to the spread of the Omicron variant. Vidot indicated that the latest figures show a downward trend.
According to the figures released by the Ministry of Health on Monday, Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, currently has 2,326 active cases. The island nation has recorded 154 COVID-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.
The health minister said that the field hospital will not have to be put to immediate use as the COVID numbers have decreased.
The hospital was handed over to the chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Danny Louange, by a humanitarian researcher at the Qatar Fund for Development, Yousef Ahmad Al-Mulla, at the Pointe Larue international airport, on September 14, 2021.