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Health workers celebrate their day amid COVID-19 pandemic |08 April 2020

Health workers celebrate their day amid COVID-19 pandemic

The gathering keeping their distance during yesterday’s ceremony (Photo: Jude Morel)

To commemorate World Health Day (April 7) and Health Workers’ Day this year, the Ministry of Health held a brief ceremony to pay tribute to and thank all health care workers in Seychelles.

The brief ceremony held yesterday morning at the Red Roof Building, Seychelles Hospital was because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic which has forced the ministry to scale down celebrations to mark the occasion.

In line with measures against the virus, the ceremony was held alfresco, with the health workers and guests present lined up a metre apart on the balcony on the first floor and under the veranda of the ground floor of the Red Roof Building.

President Danny Faure, who also holds the health portfolio, was also present at the ceremony to pay his homage and thank the health care workers. He was welcomed on arrival by the secretary of state (SS) for Health, Marie-Pierre Lloyd, the principal secretary for Health Dr Bernard Valentin, the Commissioner of Public Health Dr Jude Gedeon, the chief executive of the Health Care Agency Dr Danny Louange, the World Health Organisation (WHO) representative for Seychelles Dr Teniin Gakuruh and other senior health officers.

During the ceremony, nurses May Malcouzane and Winifred Agricole were honoured for their devotion, accomplishment and long years of service as health workers (see separate story). They both have spent forty-five years with the ministry. Mrs Malcouzane is currently working a nurse manager at the English River Clinic while Mrs Agricole is currently the Registrar of the Nurses and Midwives Council.

Addressing all present from the balcony on the first floor, SS Lloyd described their day yesterday as special as they were celebrating it in very challenging circumstances.

“Everywhere in the world at this moment, health workers are struggling with everything they have to promote, protect and restore health. The challenge is huge but so is our collective determination to overcome it,” she said.

As the WHO has designated 2020 as the Year of the Nurse and Midwife, SS LIoyd had special mention for our nurses and midwives and commended them for being at the centre of the health care services in the country.

She also thanked them for their exceptional role in helping to combat the coronavirus and called on everyone to give them our full support in the noble job they are doing in the health system.

SS Lloyd also commended the work being done by all other health workers and support staff and thanked them for their services and devotion, especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I take this opportunity, therefore, to thank each and every one, whether you are working in the public sector, private sector, or civil society, for whatever you are contributing to advance the health and wellbeing of our nation.”

SS Lloyd though said she was saddened by the fact that a few individuals, both from the health sector and from outside, are not acting professionally and hence are demeaning the good work being done by the majority of the health workers. She called on everyone to valorise and to consolidate our health system put in place by a generation of health workers.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, SS Lloyd urged everyone to, apart from following health guidance from the Ministry of Health, also take their responsibility towards their own health. She noted that by working in solidarity and being resilient, we will overcome the pandemic.

The ceremony ended with a minute of clapping of hands, as suggested by President Faure in his COVID-19 update address on Monday night, as homage and thanks to all health care workers in Seychelles, especially those working to contain the pandemic.

It was also learned that many workplaces and individuals yesterday did observe the call by President Faure to pay tribute to the health workers, especially those at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.


Patrick Joubert

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