Assembly seeks clarity on recruitment of Kenyan nurses | 03 June 2020
The 45 Kenyan nurses who arrived in Seychelles early last month are in the process of being registered locally while they follow an orientation programme in preparation to be fully deployed and assist us in the event that Seychelles faces a second wave of infection by the COVID-19 virus.
Minister Maurice Loustau-Lalanne gave this information when answering questions while representing the president who holds the health portfolio.
LDS elected member for Glacis, Regina Esparon, had asked for details on the terms of the contract for the 45 Kenyan nurses working in our health system, where they have been placed, where they are being housed and how much this is costing the government, details of the salary and other allowances they have been offered.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne explained that a two-year memorandum of understanding between the Kenyan and Seychelles government signed on April 30 provides for Kenyan health workers to come and support our health system in a show of regional and African solidarity as well as part of the good bilateral relations that exist between Kenya and Seychelles which are also two neighbours. The minister said the first group of Kenyan health workers will be here for a three-month period renewable depending on the COVID-19 situation and their performances.
He said the group are benefitting from airfares to and from their country, accommodation and food, their utilities paid for by the Seychelles government, a basic salary of R6206 exclusive of taxes, days off and leave as per the law while their main salary is being paid by the Kenyan government.
The health department here is responsible for their basic salaries, a COVID-19 risk payment decided and agreed on by their government of R5000 per month, overtime and shift allowances where applicable.
The Kenyan health workers will be placed in the different health centres, the SOPD, the Casualty Unit, the isolation centre, primary and secondary schools where they will help with children’s surveillance particularly in relation to the COVID-19 stepped up measures namely vigilance, hygiene and physical distancing.
They are being housed at the Avani Hotel Barbarons until the end of June when they are expected to be transferred to other accommodations which are still being identified.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne informed Assembly members that the 45 Kenyan health workers arrived in the country on May 4 and they went in quarantine for 14 days after they arrived here.
They were deployed on Monday this week and 19 of them have already registered with the Seychelles Nurses Council while the process is ongoing for the rest of them. All 45 of them have been accredited to the Kenyan Nurses Council.
Meanwhile Minister Loustau-Lalanne has said the remaining 26 unregistered nurses are being placed in different health centres to follow an orientation programme.
Members questioned Minister Loustau-Lalanne on the registration of the nurses, the title those who are yet to be registered will operate under in the meantime as there is talk that they will work as nursing assistants when there are our own Seychellois who have applied for the said positions and if this is the case it is not fair.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne confirmed that while they wait to be registered locally they will be working as nursing assistants. A question raised by the leader of the opposition Wavel Ramkalawan was related to the R5000 that the nurses will receive as allowance at the insistence of their government. He argued that our own nurses who were also working on the frontline during the COVID-19 outbreak are yet to receive their allowances.
Mr Ramkalawan insisted that it is important that all the foreign nurses receive their required documents before they integrate our health system and that the issue related to the COVID-19 allowance payment for all Seychellois health workers who were working on the frontline are also cleared and settled at the soonest.
Patients following treatment in India and Sri Lanka, repatriation flight expenses
Meanwhile Minister Loustau-Lalanne also informed Assembly members that at present there are 26 Seychellois patients following treatment in Sri Lanka and India and they are being accompanied by 13 attendants.
24 patients are in Sri Lanka on the Ministry of Health’s recommendations and they are accompanied by 11 attendants and they all travelled on the special flight on May 23.
Two patients are following treatment at MIOT Hospitals in Chennai and each are being accompanied by an attendant.
Meanwhile talks are underway between the Indian and Seychelles government to repatriate a patient who has just completed treatment at the same hospital.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne confirmed that the authorities here have no information on any Seychellois following treatment privately in the above mentioned countries.
He informed the Assembly that on the repatriation flight on May 23 there were altogether 88 passengers, 74 were from Chennai and 14 from Sri Lanka. A total of 55 patients and attendants from India, 21 patients and 20 attendants from India, 14 from Sri Lanka, one patient was following treatment paid by government and six private patients and five attendants as well as two Seychellois who were stuck in Colombo. There were 33 private passengers from India; 28 Seychellois and five Indians; two are married to Seychellois and three are permanent residents. One Seychellois was from Sri Lanka.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne said the total expenses incurred by the Indian high commission amounted to R17,200 while that incurred by the Sri Lankan high commission were R540,175.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne detailed the expenses by the Sri Lankan HC as follows; R53,000 for each of the 10 patients and their three attendants from March 30 to May 23, R925 for each person’s COVID-19 test.
Expenses by the Indian HC are as follows; Only 33 patients and attendants from MIOT Hospitals were assisted with 500 Indian Rupees each after they complained of money shortage and change in their return flight dates. A private patient accompanied by his wife was discharged from SIMS Hospital on March 16 and transferred to the Ramada Plaza Hotel and were surviving on their own savings for more than two months and they were being supported by their children. But when flights were cancelled on May 15, the HC paid for their food and hotel stay for a week until May 23 amounting to a sum of R10,900. Another Seychellois who was stranded in Gujarat for more than three months requested for assistance and received 500 Indian Rupees per day for 21 days from the Seychelles HC in India amounting to 10,500 Indian Rupees.
Tickets for all Seychellois passengers paid by the Seychelles government for the May 23 repatriation flight have cost R968,270 for 93 passengers. Five passengers did not take the flight.
Only 88 passengers took the flight and this amounted to R915,770. Twenty-eight passengers, including four Indians, funded their own their own tickets and to date no refund has been made to those passengers by Air Seychelles.
Meanwhile LDS MNA Flory Larue questioned the minister on the reasons why a young mother of two was left stranded in a hospital in another Indian State after spending more than three months there apparently after not much was done by the authorities here to ensure she caught the connecting flight on May 23.
Minister Loustau-Lalanne confirmed that in view of her conditions it was too risky for her to undertake the long journey from the hospital where she was to reach Chennai for the connecting flight on May 23.