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Revamped NIHSS building officially re-opened |31 January 2023

Revamped NIHSS building officially re-opened

An aerial view of the renovated NIHSS building (Photo credit: PNN)

Cost of renovation estimated at R20 million


The newly renovated National Institute of Health and Social Studies (NIHSS) building at Mont Fleuri was officially re-opened yesterday by President Wavel Ramkalawan and the Minister for Health, Peggy Vidot.

The cost of the renovation is estimated at R20 million.

President Ramkalawan recalled how his new administration had to take a decision on the NIHSS building. “It was in 2020 and with Covid, people were worried. We had to decide on new facilities for quarantine and how to preserve our vaccines. We received many donations and this new NIHSS building also is a gift that has cost more than R20 million. The government did not spend a cent and this is a gift from Vijay Patel for the wellbeing of our population. We thank Mr Patel for his generous gift.”

President Ramkalawan shared it is in this specific institution where most of the nurses have been trained. “When we came to visit the building with Dr Valentin we decided to preserve the building instead of destroying it to have a new one. This building harbours too many memories…”

After discussions with various stakeholders, Mr Patel came forward to offer his services.

“Today I am happy as now the students have a permanent place to study and they will not move from one building to the other. I am also happy as we were able to preserve the old building but we modernised it. For the future, as we still have space at the back of the building, we will venture into regional and international standard. With the upgrading of building and courses, we hope to welcome international students,” shared President Ramkalawan.

This building has been constructed in nine months and President Ramkalawan has urged the students and adults to use this school in the best way possible and keep it ‘healthy’.

President Ramkalawan shared that the government’s priority is to always think on how to improve the health system in the country and he wants to assure the people of Seychelles that they want to give them the best.

Minister Vidot described the revamped NIHSS as a “dream come true”.

“I know that students and staff of NIHSS, past and present, are ecstatic at this moment. Neither they, nor history, would have forgiven us if we had not done our utmost to restore this magnificent ‘cathedral’ of health and social teaching and learning. The opportunity to lead students to grow is inspiring, challenging and rewarding. This institute, from its early days as a nurses’ home, subsequently as a nursing school through to what it has become today, has had enormous impacts on our people’s lives.”

As the students and staff celebrate what they have accomplished together, Minister Vidot noted that they must be mindful that after the celebration comes the hard work. 

“Today is also a day for new beginnings. A day to look to the future and chart new paths. Health and health care are inalienable rights – yes, they are.  But they also bestow upon all of us a duty to take full responsibility for our own health.  In this school, our focus will be to teach students to prioritize prevention – not just in the health sector but also in the social sector. Prevention is always better than cure.”

“We will also teach students to deliver high quality person-centered care. We will not miss any opportunity to teach them the values of good communication, compassion, competence, confidence and commitment. These are so essential and so fundamental in providing quality health and social care,” noted Minister Vidot.

The director of NIHSS, Ebrahim M. Ali, noted that moving closer to the hospital makes the location ideal for the students and even for their practice. “It will cut the cost of operation. The building has around 10 classes with different sizes and NIHSS caters for various courses such as midwifery, social work, physiotherapy, nutrition, occupational therapy, emergency medical care, dental hygiene, pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical laboratory sciences, environmental health sciences, nursing, oral health care and health care assistant. There are different levels of studies and we have advertised our courses in all schools and we will see the new intake.”

One of the major concerns after the inauguration of a building is its maintenance. “We have been working with different contractors for different issues and we will keep working with them to make sure the building is maintained. As we use the building, we will see if there is any specific demand and then we will ask for a budget if need be!”

Currently there are 30 staff at NIHSS including 20 teaching staff.

The building was blessed by Father Gustave Lafortune and Reverend Danny Elizabeth.

The students also recited a poem and students from Mont Fleuri secondary performed a dance. After cutting the ribbon, the President accompanied by Vice-President Ahmed Afif, the ministers – Dr Justin Valentin, Rose Marie Hoareau, Marie-Celine Zialor – and guests toured the building.

The accompanying photos show President Ramkalawan and his entourage touring the building and interacting with the students.


Vidya Gappy

Photos: Louis Toussaint

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