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Health reforms for high standards

02 June 2010 |

June 2, 2010 - President James Michel has said that reforms in the health sector are essential if we want to maintain the high standards achieved in this area.

He was speaking during his weekend interview En Moman Avek Prezidan on SBC TV.
Mr Michel said reforms in the health sector are also essential to keep abreast with new technology, developments taking place in Seychelles and abroad, and also to meet the increasing expectations of our people.

We should not forget the level of progress achieved in the health sector, especially primary healthcare, through reforms carried out over the years, he added.

Mr Michel stressed that our health system has been internationally acclaimed, and Seychelles has been used as an example of a country with a well developed primary healthcare system.

"But we have to admit that we have weaknesses which need to be addressed," he said.
This is why he recently commissioned two international audits to study our health system and see what can be done to improve it.

Mr Michel said he also called on Seychellois health and non-health professionals, through the Equator Institute, to give their input on ways to improve the system.

These three audits have shown weaknesses and shortcomings in the health system which need to be addressed if we want to continue maintaining the high standard of health services given to our people, he added.

"I believe what is important today is good management with good direction in the hospital. We need to have good procedures and the right protocols to allow our young health professionals to work and deliver the quality of services required by their profession," said Mr Michel.

"I have a lot of confidence in our health professionals and I believe they are doing a great job, but there is a need to have the necessary framework, the right working environment, established protocols, the right management and direction for all this to happen."

The President said it is only natural for mistakes to be made, but the problem is that when such things happen, everybody is affected as Seychelles is very small.

"This is why there is a need to establish the right protocols that will limit errors as much as possible," he said.

But he pointed out that often it is not only a question of protocol, but also the mindset of our people that needs to change. 

He said health professionals and other care-givers should adopt a new mindset of love and compassion for the suffering of people who seek medical care.

The President gave examples of patients being treated badly at health centres, and he stressed that compassion and love are essential components of the health profession.

Asked whether he believes the incident early this year - when a young mother carrying twins died along with them, and medical negligence was proved - has contributed to people's loss of confidence in the health system, Mr Michel said what happened saddened the whole nation.

This is why he called for an inquiry into the incident and, as a result of the findings, has called on the Health Ministry to take the necessary steps to address the issue.

But he said that incident should not be perceived as proving the health system as a whole to be failing. On the contrary, Mr Michel stressed, the population should be strong and cooperate to help ensure the reforms are carried out effectively so as to maintain the high standards we have achieved.

Most of our health professionals are working hard to give a good service and meet the expectations of our people, and they should be encouraged, he said.

To maintain the high standards of our health system and reduce the length of time people have to wait for specialist checks, the audits will address all the shortcomings, Mr Michel added. And the right expertise will be sought, where necessary, to help put in place the proper mechanisms to tackle them.

As to possible changes of management in the Ministry of Health, he said the reforms provide for various changes which will be carried out with the involvement of all health professionals.

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