New look oncology unit inaugurated Better comfort for cancer patients





Cancer patients are expected to experience better comfort when following their treatment now that the Seychelles Hospital has a new look oncology unit.

The renovated and refurbished unit, located in the Red Roof building, was inaugurated yesterday morning by the Minister for Health, Jean-Paul Adam.

The renovation work on the modern oncology unit had cost R1.5 million, generously sponsored by the Cancer Concern Association, Seychelles Round Table, Soroptimist International Club of Victoria and Hari Builders.

The unit, which occupies part of the Red Roof building, has now a larger comfortable and airy treatment area for cancer patients on the ground floor.

The first floor contains offices, a waiting area and a larger consultation and review area.

The ground floor is only for chemotherapy treatment.

The spacious open air treatment area has cubicles in place for fragile patients along with a separate room for children, which was not the case before, as well as toilet facilities for wheel chair users. It is also equipped with new beds and new lockers.

The unit is using almost all previous equipment, which are still in good condition, except for the new drugs filtering machine.

Nurse manager of the oncology unit, Marie-Ange Michel, said that before everything such as patients coming for collection of drugs, review of patients, patients receiving treatment etc.. happened in the same space and now the new place provides a more private and safe environment for the patients.

She added that the unit is also more conducive for the staff to continue providing the good service they have been giving up to now.

Seventy-six (76) new cases of cancer have been detected as of November 2017. Currently, 80 cancer patients are receiving treatment at the oncology unit.

Ms Michel added that families visiting patients will be advised later on new regulations regarding visits.

Cancer is a disease that affects anybody from young to old but one should not consider being diagnosed with cancer as a death sentence as with early detection and early treatment, one can beat the death perception.

Chemotherapy is done in Seychelles while radio therapy is carried out overseas. According to nurse manager Michel, breast cancer and prostate cancer are the most common cancers in Seychelles.

Present at the opening ceremony were the principal secretary for health, Dr Bernard Valentin; the chargé d’affaire of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, Francesca Alexandra Azais; the chief executive of the Health care Agency, Dr Danny Louange; the chairman of the Cancer Concern Association, Bishop French Chang-Him; the chairman of Round Table Rudy Dekersauzon Vielle; the president of the Soroptimist International Club of Victoria, Angelika Maurel; other high health officers and junior staff; patients accompanied by their families and other representatives of the Cancer Concern Association; Seychelles Round Table and the Soroptimist International Club of Victoria and other invited guests.

It was Minister Adam who unveiled the commemorative plaque and he was later joined by Bishop French, Mr Dekersauzon Vielle and Ms Maurel for the ribbon cutting.

The oncology unit and its patients were blessed by Father Edwin Mathiot from the Good Shepherd Church and Deacon Willy William from the Anglican church. Before that, Bishop French and Father Mathiot blessed the hands of the oncology staff.

Minister Adam said that the centre will rekindle hope among diagnosed cancer patients who always lose hope in the first instance.

“There is always an opportunity to beat the illness, there is always an opportunity to recover and there is always a new day, tomorrow, where things can be better,” Minister Adam said.

He added that in spite of all the challenges, Seychelles offers one of the best levels of health care in the region but the ministry is aiming to set match targets with OICD countries linked with the best level of care for cancer patients in the world.

“Our standard is quite a good one. Any person who is diagnosed with cancer can know that they have access to the best level of treatment whether it be Seychelles or even those that we refer overseas for further treatment such as through radio therapy,” he said.

With Seychelles having almost every cancer, Minister Adam noted that diagnosing cancer is one of Seychelles’ greatest challenge as with other countries and said that part of the solution is to have better screening.

He urged everyone who may think they are at risk to go for screening as often as possible.

He said that the Ministry of Health will be putting more resources into research to better address cancer concerns in Seychelles by identifying the cancer which is creating the most issues.

Minister Adam thanked and saluted the partnership between the Ministry of Health and the sponsors of the project.

In her remarks, Ms Maurel said they were very happy to be present and expressed their joy with the inauguration of the new unit.

She added they were proud also that the project was financed by the civil society backed up by corporate and private donors.

But she said that most importantly the unit was financed for a large part by the people of Seychelles with their contribution when buying a pink ribbon, buying from their jumbo sales or buying lottery tickets.

She presented the oncology unit, through nurse manager Michel, a batch of heart shaped pillows, destined for breast cancer patients.

Mr Dekersauzon Vielle, said they were happy once again to witness one of their many sponsored projects come to life for the goodwill of the community and hopes to continue to work with other partners for more future charitable successes.

Bishop French said he prayed and wished that the centre brings new hope, new care and healing to the people.

He thanked all sponsors of the project and said: “Let’s work together for the benefit of our people.”

The Ministry of Health’s choir provided entertainment during the ceremony.





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