President Faure and the two MNAs participated in the rapid HIV test, followed by a tour of the Seychelles Beau Vallon Health Centre to recognize World Aids Day, December 1, 2016. The President was briefed of the different functions of each section such as the physiotherapy unit, oral health section and the pharmacy unit.
He was welcomed at the Health Centre by the Deputy Speaker and Member of the National Assembly for Bel Ombre, Honorable Nicholas Prea, Member of the National Assembly for Beau Vallon, Honorable John Hoareau, Chief Executive Officer for National Aids Council, Dr. Anne Gabriel, Specialist Medical Officer, Dr. Patrick Commettant, and Nurse in Charge of the Beau Vallon Health Centre, Mrs. Lusie Estico.
“Having the Deputy Speaker in the National Assembly who is also the MNA for Bel Ombre as well as the Member of the National Assembly for Beau Vallon here with me today, I believe that our gesture today sends a clear message to the society. There is a difference between when you talk and when you walk the talk; and when all of us are doing our work in the community, people will look at us differently. By doing our tests today, it is a message that we want to send to the community, an advocacy and leading by example,” said the President.
After the tour, President Faure lighted a candle in remembrance of those who have been affected and lost their lives to HIV, and as a sign of hope for those who are infected and undergoing treatment.
In a meeting that followed thereafter, the staff of the Beau Vallon Health Centre had the opportunity to bring to the attention of the President various challenges they are facing, such as a lack of resources, the rise in HIV infections, drug trafficking in the community, the need for better monitoring for Home Carers, and alcohol abuse among others. They also shared with the President their accomplishments, such as being able to provide HIV testing every day at the Health Centre, door to door community based services and the good practice of being able to interact with the community outside the Health Centre.
The President thanked Nurse Estico, Dr. Commettant, and their staff for the outstanding work they are doing.
“You are all doing an excellent and extraordinary job. Even though you are facing difficulties, you have persevered and this is what we appreciate about your work. Your profession is a noble one, it is a vocation. I believe that if we want to take the next step for further development, it is important that we coordinate our actions to compliment and consolidate what is already being done and in some cases, such as for the Home Carers, the need to professionalize the Home Care Services,” said President Faure.
“The meeting this morning has made me realize that you cannot have the same system in all clinics. The one here in Beau Vallon is a regional Health Centre and apart from the local community it also serves a lot of tourists. It is very far from the English River Health Centre and the Seychelles Hospital and with the traffic congestion, I found it important for this Health Centre to have its own ambulance. I have noted the lack of resources to facilitate your work in the community and we shall do the necessary to address those issues with the support of our two MNAs in the National Assembly,” continued the President.
In an interview with the local media, Dr. Anne Gabriel thanked the President and both MNAs for coming to the Centre and for showing their support to get tested for HIV.
“It is a pleasure for me to be here to talk about HIV but it is not my wish to still be telling you that we’re still getting new infections in Seychelles. From January to October this year, we’ve had 62 new cases, 32 are men and 30 are women. We’ve got a total of 830 HIV cases in Seychelles, 506 men and 324 women. Intravenous drug use is the number one cause of HIV transmission in Seychelles, followed by sexual transmission. We are pleased to note that we do not get transmission through blood donations to giving blood to people and one big achievement as well is we do not get transmission from mother to child. So, when a pregnant mother comes to antenatal, she’s tested promptly and placed on treatment if she’s HIV positive. This is because of the very good policies and practices we have,” said Dr. Gabriel.
Also present at the meeting this morning was the Chief of Presidential Protocol and Presidential Affairs, Mrs. Jacqueline Moustache-Belle, Senior Staff Nurse at the Beau Vallon Health Centre, Ms. Jocelina Servina, Head teacher for Beau Vallon School, Mrs. Jourdanne Loze, District Administrator for Beau Vallon, Mrs. Barbara Stravens, and Acting District Administrator for Bel Ombre, Ms. Inese Sinon, among other senior officers.
Seychelles is a founding member of the International Coalition of Tourism Partners (ICTP).