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Ministry of Health shines light on palliative care and providers |09 October 2021

Ministry of Health shines light on palliative care and providers

Minister Vidot addressing the gathering (Photos: Thomas Meriton)

On the occasion of World Hospice and Palliative Care Day which is observed globally on October 9, Minister for Health Peggy Vidot visited the North East Point Hospice yesterday morning.

In a brief ceremony held in the presence of principal secretary Bernard Valentin, chief executive of the Health Care Agency (HCA) Danny Louange and other officials from the ministry, Minister Vidot pronounced a special message recognising staff of the facility, and joined employees in lighting the candle and hanging a small message on the facility’s healing tree.

This year, Seychelles is marking World Palliative Care Day with renewed dynamism, following the commitment made by President Wavel Ramkalawan to the director general of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In September, Dr Tedos Gebreyesus wrote to world leaders and requested that governments give greater support to palliative care so as not to leave anyone behind, especially the most vulnerable. Seychelles responded affirmatively and emphasised the long-standing policy of providing unfiltered access to care to all citizens throughout the life course.

“Palliative care is the specialised care that we offer to persons diagnosed with a condition for which there is no immediate cure. It is the care that we offer from the depths of our hearts, with passion and with devotion to relieve the symptoms towards keeping another human being in comfort and dignity. It is the gentleness, tenderness, the quality time, the understanding, the compassion and the communication which replaces medication to heal, or surgery to remove a body part, or a piece of equipment to help, or re-establish a function,” Minister Vidot noted.

“The government of Seychelles remains committed to offer the highest quality of palliative care to those who need it. As we advance, government will continue to place emphasis on palliative care. We will train healthcare workers and those who provide care within communities. We will invest more on our primary health programmes, especially our home care programme, so we can achieve our palliative care objectives and ensure that nobody who needs palliative care is left out,” Minister Vidot added.

Staff of the Hospice and North East Point Hospital also made the most of the occasion and launched the very first leaflet on palliative care containing general information about palliative care services at the hospice facility, and the various benefits.

Nurse Maria Battin acknowledged that a terminal illness diagnosis is an extremely difficult time for both the patient and family, calling on health workers to step in and offer them support so they know that they are not alone in this fight.

“We are all in it together. It is a shared responsibility,” Ms Battin noted.

With the launch of the leaflet, it was time for the presentation of gifts and hampers to staff of the hospice, as well as the residents. Chairperson of Seychelles Patients Association, Mayseline Esther, officially handed over the hampers and variety of vegetables and fruits to staff.

Minister Vidot also had the honour of lighting the mother candle and placing a message on the symbolic healing tree at the facility. She also, after concluding the ceremony visited each resident individually, to present them with their gift hampers, and interact with them.

This year, the day is being observed under the theme ‘Leave no one behind; Equity in access to palliative care’.

Among the sponsors who contributed towards the hampers and produce are Throwbathy Store, Chaka Brothers, Jean Paul and Jojo Farms, and Jacques Matombe farms.

The Seychelles Hospice opened in 2009 through an initiative of the Rotary Club with the support of the Ministry of Health. It was adopted in 2009 by Cable and Wireless Seychelles, who also donated equipment and items of care.

Since then, the six-private room hospice has grown from strength to strength, and is now a centre of excellence for Seychelles in palliative and person-centered care. Staff have received training in the United Kingdom and India.


Laura Pillay


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