Seychelles Medical and Dental Council
At a one of a kind social gathering held at the Medent Clinic in Victoria, Mahe in the evening of Thursday 6th November 2014, some thirty select medical, dental, legal, pharmaceutical, insurance and other professionals together with patients and some elements of the media, stood up to discuss the state of health care quality in Seychelles and how it might be better regulated.
The event was organized by Dr Jose Souyave, a Seychellois private dental practitioner working in United Kingdom, to celebrate twenty years of the existence of his dental practice, Medent Clinic.
Topics broached during discussions included accounts of how the medical and dental professions are regulated in United Kingdom and the efforts underway in Seychelles to move closer to the ideal regulatory framework for this country.
Those who spoke at the gathering included Dr Souyave, Dr Gavin Gill, Dr Guy Ah-Moye, Dr Bernard Valentin, Dr Conrad Shamlaye, Mr Ralph Volcere, Mr Daniel Belle, Mr Eddie Micock, Mr Behram of Behram Pharmacy fame amongst many others.
The gathering also heard passionate views by some members of the public who had been aggrieved in the past by some medical care decisions. Those members of the public demanded more protection of the patients from eventual medical or dental malpractices.
There appeared to be a consensus that the legal system could contribute to improving care quality in Seychelles if patients and their lawyers were more systematic in demanding greater accountability from care givers.
Also present at the gathering were other eminent members of the local community such as Bishops Wong and Chang Him. They spoke eloquently about the spiritual dimensions of care.
Earlier this year the public health authorities pronounced the old stone-walled building at Seychelles Hospital at Mont Fleuri not suitable anymore to provide clinical care. And true to form, the Health Care Agency reorganized its operations away from that locale.
Aged more than 50 years now, the building has been the historic workplace for towering health care personalities. One of them was a remarkable former dental therapist – the high quality of whose clinical work still remains etched in the psyche of patients and colleagues alike.
Officials of the Ministry of Health appear to be still debating what is to become of the old faithful building. Should it be demolished to make way for much needed parking space? Could the stones from the demolition be used for a retaining wall to shore the banks of the gentle stream flowing behind the building. Or better, should the building be left standing and renovated for new functions, given its historical significance as part of the older version of Seychelles Hospital?
Irrespective of whether the decision pleases or displeases “aficionados” of history, the fate of the old building will soon be known.
For many years, African victims of the disease died in their desolate plight and very few people bothered to even lift a little finger to assist.
Now that Ebola is spreading like wild fire and is slowly closing in on the rich and powerful of the world, the disease is receiving much more deserved attention. Indeed, the spread may be a blessing in disguise, a God-sent wake up call to every one who can do anything, to at least do something.Maybe at last, through the new-found concerted effort, a cure or a vaccine against this most deadly disease will be found.
But before this even happens, the action, reaction and overreaction to stem the tide of the epidemic continue to amaze. Politicians the world over are pushing through rushed measures to, presumably, allay the fears of their people, often against the best public health advice. Public health leaders, on the other hand, are not entirely able to convince the world – especially when reality checks have proven, now beyond any doubt, that countries rich and poor are not prepared for this contagion of biblical proportion.
Even, almighty America is beginning to doubt the quality of its own preparedness. Trust in the protocols is beginnining to crumble. Paranoia is slowly creeping in.
And guess what! Today, somebody hushed in my ears, in the sidelines of a meeting, that maybe nations of the world should start to pray to help stem the epidemic!
In my view, whatever could work should be tried!
This is what everybody is doing.
A working group of senior doctors and dentists, appointed by health minister Mitcy Larue, began work today, Friday 10th October 2014, on a new regulatory framework for medical and dental practice in Seychelles.
The group is led by Dr Conrad Shamlaye , erstwhile principal secretary and special adviser in the Ministry of Health and includes representatives from the Seychelles Medical and Dental Council, the Seychelles Medical and Dental Association, the private sector and the ministry of health.
A member of the group, Dr Bernard Valentin, has said that the group has been tasked with reviewing all matters that concern medical and dental practice in Seychelles and is expected to submit a report to the health minister at the end of January 2015.
Dr Valentin added that the changing health landscape in Seychelles, with an exponential increase in private conventional and alternative health practices and the need to properly regulate that landscape, preoccupied the working group today.
Younger doctors and dentists, who have just completed or are in the midst of their internships, were also invited to contribute to the deliberations of the group.
“The Medical Practitioners and Dentists Act was last reviewed in 1994. Two minor amendments to the act have happened since then but no review as extensive and as inclusive as this one has ever been undertaken,” says Dr Valentin.
With well over 19 percent of teenagers of both sexes in Seychelles declared obese or overweight and, following the massive health promotion campaigns of the Ministry of Health since several years, it now appears that the entire population of Seychelles has finally become conscious of the need for every individual, family and community to intervene to reverse this tide.
Remarkable efforts towards this end have been undertaken recently by Miss Seychelles 2014, Camilla Estico, the Seychelles National Youth Council and the Department of Youth.
Kudos go to them!
Estico has joined forces with a local super-market, (name withheld), a local farmer, Jean Paul Geoffroy and a South African dietician, Kirchlee Naidoo to promote healthy eating within the family.
She has chosen a small group of families wherein the problem of obesity is apparent and she uses the novelty of supplying healthy foods to them, free of charge, while working with them in the background, to address the overweight issue.
The National Youth Council and the Department of Youth have launched their SEYX30 campaign aimed at encouraging young Seychellois to exercise for at least 30 minutes per day.
These efforts add to the nationwide campaign dubbed “My Health, My Responsibility” which the Ministry of Health launched in April 2014.
Seychelles has really awoken to the stark realization that if something is not done about obesity, sooner rather than later, the whole nation will live to regret the consequences.
The Seychelles Medical and Dental Council supports all the well-advised campaigns to reduce obesity in people of all ages.
The first hospital of Seychelles was a wooden building located in the centre of Victoria (Etablissement Du Roi). It was constructed sometime in the 18th century, (after 1778) not far from what is now the old Bel Air Cemetery, up what is now called Revolution Avenue.
In the 19th Century, the Hospital moved to the location of what is now called the National House up the Mont Fleuri Road. Rumours have it that National House is haunted today because so many patients died in the area when the hospital was located there.
Seychelles Hospital is at its current location, further south along the Mont Fleuri Road (Hermitage), since the 1920’s when construction of the hospital began.
Incidentally, there is no connection between the location of the hospital at Hermitage and the name Hermitte Ward given to the female Surgical Ward.
The Minister of Health of Seychelles, in 2010, meeting with the leadership of the Chinese Hospital Ship, the Peace Ark. The Peace Ark was on a goodwill visit to Seychelles with a large number of medical personnel.