Indian community in Seychelles rallies support for state health services with funding for medical specialists
The Stethoscope, taken on March 25, 2012. (Alex Proimos/Flickr) Two medical specialists from India, will be to be assigned for two years to the Anse Boileau Health Centre as part of cooperation between the Seychelles Ministry of Health and Indian Association of Seychelles. Photo License: (CC BY-NC 2.0)
The Seychelles islands in the Indian Ocean, with its population of 90,000 people, a Creole nation of descendants of French, British, African, Chinese and Indian settlers, celebrated the the third edition of the Seychelles India Day last weekend, which included a spectacular music show by Indian artists.
One of its organisers, the Indian Association of Seychelles has been involved in a number of community philanthropic activities in the past, and decided to 'adopt' a regional health centre this year, where it would provide two medical specialists from India, who will be to be assigned for two years to a state health facility, the Anse Boileau health centre.
An agreement was signed by the Chief Executive of the Seychelles Health Care Agency, Dr Suresh Menon and the Chairman of the Indian Association of Seychelles , Ramu Pillay, at the health centre on Saturday, for the funding of a pediatrician and a physician for the clinic as well the undertaking renovation works.
|The Chief Executive of the Seychelles Health Care Agency, Dr Suresh Menon and the chairman of the Indian Association of Seychelles, Ramu Pillay, signing and exchanging documents of the MoU on Saturday. (Louis Toussaint, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
The health centre provides medical services to around fifteen thousand patients and considered as one of the biggest clinic in the western region of Mahe, the main island of the nation, where state health care services are provided free of charge. Anse Boileau will be the first regional health centre in the country to receive permanently based specialists.
“The pediatrician that will be placed at Anse Boileau will help in such a way that children in the region will not have to travel to the central health centre or that of Anse Royale to get the same service; it will be available on site. That will be a great boost,” said Mitcy Larue, the Seychelles health minister at the signing of the agreement.
She added that this will also help reduce pressure on the central health care facilities and as a result, patients will receive better treatment and follow up care.
A health care representative of the centre said that there is not really a lack of medical specialists in the country but that they are not based permanently in regional health centres, as they are based in the capital of Victoria at the Seychelles Hospital.
“We decided to have the two specialists because we wanted to ensure that the population of the whole region is covered in that one is specialised in children (pediatrician) and the other can provide a range of health care to adults....we want Anse Boileau clinic to be a model clinic. Maybe in two years, if everything goes well, we will see if we can adopt another health centre,” said Ramu Pillay.
Pillay explained that they are looking for the best specialists in the two fields and have already established contact with prospective candidates. The association together with the Health Care Agency are working together on their recruitment.
|The Anse Boileau health centre provides medical services to around fifteen thousand patients and is considered as one of the biggest clinic in the western region of the main Seychelles island of Mahe. (Salifa Magnan, Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY|
The association will also be providing medical equipment and responsible for the maintenance of the centre.
Before the ceremony, the clinic had already undergone renovation works, which included repainting the building and preparing the rooms for the specialists’ arrival.
This is not the first time the Indian Association of Seychelles has helped the Ministry of Health with renovation works. In October last year as part of the second edition of the Seychelles India Day, they handed over the Yellow Roof building at the Seychelles Hospital in the capital Victoria at the end of renovation work. The association financed the renovation of the building which is the specialist outpatient department of the Seychelles hospital.
“This is yet another milestone. The signing of this Memorandum of Understanding between the Health Care Agency and the Indian Association of Seychelles is a shining example of community participation in action; community participation in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of health services to achieve better health outcomes for all,” noted Larue.
According to a WHO study in 2014, the burden of Seychelles health care system has shifted to non-communicable diseases, injuries and mental health. Life expectancy for both males and females in Seychelles is high with non-communicable diseases such as cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, asthma and depression being the leading causes of mortality.
Male life expectancy according to the study is pegged at 68 years of age while for women it stands at 78 years.
The report also found out that mortality due to cardio-vascular diseases which is the leading cause of death in the country has declined by 53 percent in men and 26 percent among females as a result of decreasing smoking and alcohol intake. About 20 percent of mortality in Seychelles is credited to cancer which comes second to cardio-vascular related ailments.