HealthCareAgencySEY-PEN2019 Patients urged to undergo non-communicable diseases pre-screening | 02 December 2019
Patients seeking health assistance from the Seychelles Hospital and health centres across the country will be reminded on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and self care and encouraged to undergo pre-screenings for non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
This follows the launch by the Health Care Agency in collaboration with the World Health Organisation(WHO) of a major project, the Seychelles Package of Essential Non-Communicable Diseases (SEY-PEN), aimed at improving the efficiency and quality of care for NCDs within the primary health care.
It also emphasises on the improvement of diagnosis and treatment of NCDs to ensure prevention of related complications.
The launch took place on Friday at the Sheik Khalifa Diagnostic Centre conference room in the presence of the Minister for Health Jean-Paul Adam, the chief executive of Health Care Agency Dr Danny Lounge and other senior and junior staff of the Ministry of Health and the agency.
The project comprises a set of simple interventions necessary for the effective prevention and management of non-communicable diseases in the primary health care focusing on prevention, early detection, early diagnosis, proper management, and prevention of complications related to cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetic, hypertension and chronic respiratory diseases and also to improve their control in the general population.
As of November 11, 2019, the PEN has already started to be phase implemented at the Anse Aux Pins and Beau Vallon health centres for a 9-month period before scaling up to the national level. A group of 32 health workers from both clinics who underwent training on cost effective interventions for the management of cardiovascular diseases, hypertension and diabetes mellitus thus developing their skills in counselling for behavioural change related to these major risk factors were also presented with their certificate on Friday.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, Minister Adam said it is essential to note that there is an urgency to address the issue of non-communicable diseases in our country as it constitutes very obviously the main disease burden.
“This means that we have to be determined in trying to manage these diseases in a more systematic manner and very importantly by trying to prevent complications from occurring,” Minister Adam said, noting that the project will involve treatment and prevention in parallel.
Minister Adam said that addressing NCDs goes beyond administering medication to a patient; it is more about giving them the life skills to cope with conditions that are chronic and lifelong that will impact on their own health and also on their families and the wider society.
He noted that to be able to offer high quality care, health professionals must be able right from the outset as patients enter for the first time in the health system, to give the care based on simplicity and accessibility that is appropriate for the conditions that the patients face.
For his part Dr Louange said that NCDs are largely preventable by addressing the four common risk factors – tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.
He noted that NCD deaths in the African region show an increasing trend over the years and in Seychelles, mortality from NCDs accounts for 81% of total mortality in 2016 and the trend will increase if measures are not put in place to address them.
The coordinator of the project, Dr Vivianne Camille, said patients coming to the Seychelles Hospital or health centres will not be forced to do the pre-screening for NCDs but will be advised through counselling and encouraged to do so for their own benefit.
She noted that a lot of people are not even aware that they could have NCDs as they have never been screened for such conditions.
She said that the phase implementation of SEY-Pen project at the two health centres will be closely monitored and evaluated before being implemented at national level.