President visits public health laboratories | 22 August 2020
President Danny Faure was yesterday morning taken on a tour of the facilities of the public health laboratories at the Seychelles Hospital and at the Sheikh Khalifa centre, seen as well equipped to fight the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Apart from bringing his support for the staff, the aim of the visit was also for him to see work being done in relation to Covid-19 since the Ministry of Health has acquired new equipment and test kits from government, private and foreign donors in the past few months and seen an increase in Covid-19 tests.
On the first leg of the visit at the Seychelles Hospital, President Faure, accompanied by the secretary of state for Health, Ambassador Marie-Pierre Lloyd, the Public Health Commissioner, Dr Jude Gédéon and chief executive of the Health Care Agency, Dr Danny Louange, was briefed by the chief lab technologist, Leon Biscornet, on the general function of the laboratory situated there. This was followed by a detailed overview of what happens in the Infectious Diseases Surveillance Unit of the laboratory, with regard to Covid-19 tests, by the head of the unit, Brigitte Pool.
President Faure was then guided on a tour of the facilities of the other laboratory on the first floor at Sheikh Khalifa centre, where the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for Covid-19 takes place. The delegation was joined by the Minister for Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Ambassador Maurice Loustau-Lalanne.
Heading to the Red Roof building, President Faure had a brief discussion with the Public Health Emergency Operations Committee. As the Minister for Health, he later joined the management for their routine health meeting.
Speaking to the press after the visit, Mr Biscornet said that in this time of the pandemic where they had to work till the early hours of the morning due to increase in Covid-19 tests, the staff were very appreciative and thankful for the support given to them by the President yesterday.
He said the visit had given them the opportunity to interact with him on successes and challenges.
He noted that though the laboratories are now very well equipped to fight Covid-19 as compared to the start of the pandemic, they still need additional equipment in the form of an automate extraction machine to remove particles from cells.
He also said that additional space to work was another topic discussed with President Faure. Most of the Covid-19 tests are held from afternoon to the early hours of the following day.
Dr Gedeon said that the ministry is constantly looking at health situations in the country with regard to purchasing new equipment for better response and with the Covid-19 pandemic, this is no exception.
He claimed that the government is in the process of finalising a plan to build a laboratory annex to an isolation centre to be built at the ex-National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS), Hermitage.
He also said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative in Seychelles, Dr Teniin Gakuruh, had during the Public Health Emergency Operations Committee discussion, conveyed praised from the organisation to President Faure, for the country’s leadership role in the fight against the virus which had spared the loss of lives in the country.
The accompanying photos by our photographer Jude Morel show President Faure during his visit to the laboratories.